The alleged perpetrator followed a clear routine: the man repeatedly attacked a Tjaden’s organic supermarket chain in Hamburg’s Fruchtallee, usually in the evenings when the tills were full to bursting. Between August 2021 and May 2022, he terrorized employees, always disguised with a grandpa-faced latex mask and armed with an airsoft gun. In his last act, he changed branches and attacked Tjaden’s on Martinistraße in Eppendorf. He is said to have stolen a total of 4125 euros.

Now, starting Thursday, a 44-year-old man will appear in court, the prosecution believes they have identified the right perpetrator. After the first acts, the police began to use civilian investigators around the two affected branches. On the evening of June 9, 2022, a special task force managed to arrest suspect B. The man has already put on the grandpa mask and has a blank gun and magazine with him.

As of Thursday, the 44-year-old has to answer to the Hamburg Regional Court for six cases of robbery – five of them particularly serious – and attempted extortion.

In the meantime, the investigations became a political issue. After the arrest, the public prosecutor initially decided that there were no grounds for detention – although the man had said grandfather mask with him when he was arrested. From police circles it is said that the responsible magistrate was overwhelmed. The matter becomes a political issue, in which Hamburg’s Green Senator for Justice, Anna Gallina, lets herself be carried away and castigates critical media reporting as an “air number”.

The police arrested him again shortly afterwards. This time a different judge was on duty and the list of evidence was even more overwhelming – so there should also be a positive DNA comparison with traces from previous robberies. The man has been sitting there ever since.

In the course of the series of robberies, the company lost long-standing employees, and some also moved to other branches. The chain boss said at the time that they had problems processing what they had experienced or were afraid of becoming a victim of an attack themselves.