There is no end to the many costly toilet break-ins in Berlin, and a provisional arrest has now been made in the Rummelsburg district. A 25-year-old man violently opened the coin box of a public toilet on Wednesday evening and took out money, the police said on Thursday.
He was observed in his act by a police officer who pursued him and overpowered him with the help of other emergency services. The money was secured. The 25-year-old was released after his identity was established. The police are investigating whether he is responsible for further departures.
According to the operating company Wall, toilets have been broken into more than 9,000 times since the beginning of the year. That means a massive increase and a completely new dimension. In previous years, there were only a few dozen break-ins, a Wall spokeswoman said. The fully automatic toilets are often badly damaged afterwards and have to be repaired at great expense.
There are already talks with the state of Berlin, which owns the toilets and is the client for the operation, to find a solution. It is being discussed, for example, whether cash payments should be abolished in favor of electronic payments.
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The police spoke of so far 3333 such acts registered. A spokesman said the number is expected to be significantly higher as a backlog of ads is currently being processed. The police had set up an investigation group specifically for the issue and had already arrested a number of perpetrators.
Wall operates 278 so-called city toilets in Berlin, which are cleaned automatically. Use costs 50 cents. There are also 79 other public toilets and toilet centers. (dpa)