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Petrol station names and shames ‘pump and run’ thieves

A petrol-station owner in Växjö in southern Sweden grew so tired of customers filling up and driving off without paying that he identified them with a photo at the entrance to his station.

The man is now subject to a police investigation.

“We have visited the station and the photographs have been taken down,” detective chief inspector Stefan Karlsson at Växjö police told the TT news agency.

The police have also framed a report about the incident but have not yet made a decision over whether the disgruntled petrol station owner is suspected of any criminal offence.

“I’ll have to take the hit if it comes. We can not be robbed of petrol worth up to 30,000 kronor ($4,300) without doing something about it,” Håkan Emvall told Sveriges Radio Kronoberg.

Emvall finally had enough of police inaction when the same men filled up their cars and drove off without paying for the third time in a week. Despite repeated reports to the police the men were allowed to continue and Emvall decided to take the law into his own hands.

The photographs that were published at the entrance to the station depicted the two men after having just filled up a Saab, with the registration number written below. He furthermore labelled the two men as “hit-and-run petrol thieves”.

The question has now arisen over whether it is legal to claim and identify someone as a criminal.

Retail trade organization, Svensk Handel, does not think so but Emvall has in his defence cited a decision by the Skåne police to publish surveillance camera pictures of suspected criminals on its homepage.

The Skåne police force is currently seeking help and tips from the public to solve a series of frauds and robberies.

Växjö police will in the near future offer its view of the use of the petrol station’s surveillance cameras in this manner.

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OFFBEAT

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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