Feb 19, 2021 @ 22:59

‘Black Forest Rambo’ jailed for three years

A man dubbed the “Black Forest Rambo” received a three-year jail sentence from a German court on Friday for stealing police guns and evading arrest in the woods, sparking a massive manhunt.

The regional court in the southwestern city of Offenburg convicted 32-year-old Yves Rausch of illegal weapons possession, resisting arrest, grievous bodily harm and hostage-taking.

The sentence came in just below the three years and nine months requested by the prosecution during the month-long trial.

Rausch was arrested in July near the town of Oppenau on the French border after a six-day search that captured national headlines.

He was finally found sitting in a bush with five guns and an axe and taken into custody. Rausch wounded one officer in the foot with the axe, leaving him permanently unable to work.

He had fled into the forest after he managed to disarm four police officers, sparking a huge search operation.

The manhunt saw 2,500 officers comb the area with the help of special forces, helicopters, sniffer dogs and thermal imaging cameras.

Rausch’s case sparked media comparisons with 1980s movie action hero Rambo after pictures emerged of him in the woods dressed in combat gear.

At the start of the trial on January 15, his attorney read out a statement from Rausch admitting to making off with the officers’ weapons but insisted he meant no harm and merely feared arrest.

“I am a person who loves freedom,” the statement said.

His defence lawyer had disputed the hostage-taking charge and asked for a suspended sentence of 18 months.

– ‘Affinity for arms’ –
The drama began when police were informed about a suspicious man hanging around a hut in the Black Forest.

Four officers sent to the scene said he cooperated at first but then suddenly threatened them with a gun and made them surrender their own weapons before running off with them.

Police had earlier warned that he might also be carrying a bow and arrow.

Oppenau prosecutor Herwig Schaefer described Rausch as a “weapons freak” with a “great affinity for arms”.

Rausch has a long criminal record, including charges related to the possession of illegal weapons, theft and bodily injury.

He received a juvenile sentence of 3.5 years in 2010 after he shot an acquaintance with a crossbow, seriously injuring her.

Police found child pornography on his mobile phone while investigating him for possession of explosives in 2019.

He had also received an eight-month suspended sentence for inciting hatred when he was 15 after altering the letters on a sign for a youth organisation so that it read “Juden weg” (“Jews be gone”).

They said he had also built a fake bomb and previously made anti-Semitic statements and used Nazi swastikas and SS symbols. However prosecutors in the trial ruled out a political motive.

Agence France-Presse

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