North Rhine-Westphalia: After a storm: scammers, onlookers and looters

Paderborn does not come to rest after the tornado.

North Rhine-Westphalia: After a storm: scammers, onlookers and looters

Paderborn does not come to rest after the tornado. As if the damage and destruction weren't bad enough, the police now have to investigate criminals, onlookers, traffic hooligans and donation scammers.

Paderborn (dpa / lnw) - Criminals, traffic hooligans, onlookers and renewed storm warnings: Even three days after the devastating storm with destructive tornadoes, there is no peace in Paderborn and Lippstadt. According to their own statements, the Paderborn police have been investigating suspected fraudsters who are trying to exploit people's willingness to help and illegally collect donations on behalf of the city since Monday. The administration also drew attention to this on its website. "The city of Paderborn is expressly not behind calls for donations that are currently circulating on social networks, such as Facebook. Unknown people are trying to take advantage of the current situation and get money quickly."

The police confirmed to the German Press Agency that they had filed a criminal complaint against the unknown fundraiser. "We have started investigations," said a spokesman, "on suspicion of fraud." The strangers use the Internet platform GoFundMe.com for their attempted donation fraud. Under the title "Tornado in Paderborn NRW" it reads: "Hello, we are hurricane in Germany and we are collecting donations for the affected people on behalf of the city of Paderborn (...)."

The platform is popular for collecting donations. But there were repeated attempts to place false calls there. The city expressly emphasized that this campaign did not come from it and that it "did not call for fundraising either online or in analogue form". The police advised once again to only use official bodies for donations. "There are many criminals, scammers, fakes and charlatans on the Internet," said the police spokesman.

The authorities also have a lot of work to do in the battered region in other areas. Action is also taken against onlookers. On Sunday - two days after the devastating storm - there were numerous calls for help from victims. The emergency services spoke of "real sensational tourism". That's why "dozens of dismissals" were pronounced. In addition, there were three corresponding criminal charges, the police said. In addition, in one case investigations were started into suspected looting in a textile shop and in another into dangerous interventions in road traffic.

The owner of a clothing store filed a complaint. According to the police, the businesswoman closed her shop around 4 p.m. on Friday. After the tornado passed, a business neighbor reported and told her that the shop door had been forced open by the storm and that everything in the shop was a mess. The owner then discovered on the spot that clothes worth several thousand euros had been stolen.

Even some craftsmen cannot work undisturbed. In the Riemeke residential area, a roofer who wanted to set up his vehicle was approached. Traffic had to be stopped there for a short time. A driver then drove threateningly towards the roofer and only braked shortly before him. He insulted the handyman, ran over his foot and then accelerated. The police are investigating because of "dangerous intervention in road traffic".

In the Riemekepark, in the Paderquell area and other damaged areas, many passers-by did not keep to the barriers at the weekend. The police complained that streamers had been torn off or simply "undermined". In the Dörener Feld industrial area, security companies have been commissioned to keep strangers away from the destroyed company buildings. The instructions of the security guards were also disregarded, so that they called the police for assistance. The police deployed several patrols.

Meanwhile, work to repair the storm damage continued on Monday. In many places, officials supported by blocking roads or securing dangerous spots. There are still life-threatening areas, it said. Residents also have to be careful on private property, because many damaged roofs are not yet secured.

Meanwhile, the German Weather Service (DWD) warned of new thunderstorms, gusts of wind and possible severe weather hazards on Monday afternoon in the Paderborn district. The warnings should be taken seriously. Nobody should then stay outdoors, especially in the areas that were not yet safe from the Friday tornado damage. There is a risk of death from falling roof tiles or breaking branches.

There was also no all-clear for the high school graduates. They have to go for their exams. Even if three high schools - two in Lippstadt, which was also badly affected, one in Paderborn - remained closed, schoolchildren still have to take the few outstanding Abitur exams as planned. The police won't be able to help with that.


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