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'Auschwitz thief no priority': Swedish police

'Auschwitz thief no priority': Swedish police

Published: 11 Feb 2010 08:01 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Feb 2010 08:01 GMT+01:00

Swedish police have now issued an arrest warrant for Anders Högström, the 35-year-old Swede suspected of being the mastermind behind the theft of the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from the Auschwitz death camp.

Since the indictment of Högström by Polish justice authorities last month has now been translated and passed on to prosecutor Agneta Hilding Qvarnström, Swedish police are obliged to arrest him on sight.

Qvarnström was on Wednesday unwilling to confirm any measures so far taken to secure the man's arrest, citing the right to confidentiality.

But according to news agency TT police sources, the 35-year-old is not a prioritized case and they have not dispatched units to secure his arrest. Instead, local police will be tasked with handling the case.

Anders Högström is registered to a address in central Stockholm, but has previously lived in Karlskrona in Blekinge County in southern Sweden.

"It is an international arrest order and thus carries a certain weight in comparison with 'regular' matters. At the same time it does not mean that we're going to send out a hunting party for him," said Thomas Pärlklo at Blekinge police.

The Local reported on February 2nd that a European arrest warrant had been issued for Högström for his alleged involvement in the December 18th theft of the sign from the gate of the notorious camp set up in occupied Poland by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Högström, a former neo-Nazi, has told Swedish media he was supposed to act as an intermediary to pick up the sign and sell it to a buyer, but in the end he wound up informing Polish police about the people behind the plot.

The sign was recovered by Polish police two days after the theft and five Polish men were arrested and charged.

The five-metre (16-foot) metal inscription - which means "Work Will Set You Free" in German - long symbolised the horror of the camp where some 1.1 million people, one million of them Jews, fell victim to Nazi German genocide from 1940 to 1945.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:41 February 11, 2010 by byke
Its a shame the police haven't realized that if they stepped up their game, then "work will set them free"
09:30 February 11, 2010 by Lukestar1991
Finally, it looks like the police are focusing on more important things.
09:30 February 11, 2010 by Jan M
They won't 'launch an immediate witch hunt for him'. Interesting language from a police force. Are they concerned that the poor little fascist might feel persecuted if they lifted a finger?
09:35 February 11, 2010 by StockholmSam
I suppose they are too busy standing in the streets outside the hooligan pubs on derby night.

This really reflects poorly on the Swedish police. They strike fear in nobody. Hell, their preferred police care is a Volvo station wagon. Now THAT is intimidating. Couple that with the very timid penalties handed out to convicted criminals, and the future for Swedish society looks bleak, especially as the class divisions become more and more entrenched.

One of the reasons NYC went from being one of the most dangerous, crime-ridden big cities in the US to being one of the safest was the introduction of a zero-tolerance policy aimed at low-level crimes perpetrated by young people such as graffiti and littering and simple vandalism. This got many young people to straighten up and when they grew into adulthood, their criminal inclinations were long gone. Sweden tends to go after the "serious" criminals, which seems a bit too late to me.

They should corral this guy immediately since they are in the international spotlight right now.
12:10 February 11, 2010 by Scepticion
So, what are their priorities then??? The police solve just about 5.8% of crimes in Sweden ( http://www.thelocal.se/15412/20081103/ ), mostly because of lack of information or evidence, and now they have actually the name of a person to arrest, and they don't take it seriously? And when they make an arrest, they don't bother to check out the stolen goods (http://www.thelocal.se/20444/20090703/) ?
12:54 February 11, 2010 by just a question
message here: steal what you want, we'll do nothing
13:58 February 11, 2010 by calebian22
Trowbridge,

Mossad, Mossad, Mossad, yawn... You might want to get that record player fixed. It seems to be stuck.
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