Suspect: ‘I wanted to be like Tony Soprano’

A man has confessed to police in western Sweden that the hit US television programme The Sopranos inspired him to embark on a blackmail campaign featuring threatening letters and broken windows.

Suspect: 'I wanted to be like Tony Soprano'

After watching the HBO-produced television show, which features actor James Gandolfini as the title character Tony Soprano, the would-be gangster saw an opportunity to squeeze a small business owner in Hässelholm, western Sweden.

The man’s extortion campaign began in late January with a threatening letter sent to the business owner’s home.

The later warned that business owner needed to pay 30,000 kronor ($4,650), as well as 10 percent of the company’s turnover, if he wanted to avoid having his shop vandalized, the local Norra Skåne newspaper reported.

A short time later, a storefront window at the shop was smashed, followed by more threatening letters hinting that the broken window was a “taste of things to come”.

The business owner reported the incidents to police officers, who then decided to put his home under surveillance.

When the would-be gangster behind the threatening letters later turned up at the house to personally drop off the next missive in his blackmail campaign, police acted swiftly and arrested him.

The 19-year-old suspect had had previous run ins with the law. During questioning, he admitted to the crimes, telling officers he got the idea from The Sopranos.

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Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.