The repeat offender was arrested after each offense, but a judge has continuously refused to sanction his pre-trial detention
A notorious Syrian vandal who is accused of smashing the windshields of over 200 cars, robbing and injuring a pensioner, and setting fire to a bus, remains a free man after a German court revoked an arrest warrant applied for by the authorities.
The 31-year-old suspect, known as Firas A., has wreaked havoc in the port city of Hamburg for months and is believed to have smashed around 245 car windshields in the space of just two months from May to June.
The Syrian national, who arrived in Germany back in 2015, was arrested for the mass vandalism but a court refused to sanction his pre-trial detention.
It is understood he was recently rearrested for new offenses including repeatedly driving without a license and issuing death threats to his former employer. The suspect initially resisted arrest and sparked a police chase but was eventually stopped and found to be in possession of a knife when apprehended.
But still, a judge refused to sign off on him remaining in custody.
German newspaper Bild reported how police in the city “are stunned by the lax justice system” that keeps the man free to roam the streets and use up valuable resources.
“The reason for the arrest warrant issued at the request of the public prosecutor on Nov. 16, 2023, was the risk of absconding,” explained Mia Sperling-Karstens, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office.
“Given that the accused admitted the allegations after the execution of the arrest warrant, the district court suspended the execution of the arrest warrant and issued various instructions to the accused,” she added.
He has now been released from custody several times only to re-offend with various degrees of seriousness.
After being released in relation to the mass vandalism of car windshields, Firas A. was caught on surveillance footage on Aug. 23 accosting an 84-year-old woman withdrawing cash at the Osdorfer Born shopping center.
After approaching the woman from behind, the suspect grabbed the cash from her hands and in the struggle injured the pensioner, who fell to the ground. She was later treated for bruises on her hands and a cut, while the Syrian suspect remained a free man.
Thomas Jungfer, Hamburg regional chairman of the German Police Union said at the time: “While the police have done their job here, there still seems to be room for the judiciary, and they are more likely to exercise mercy than dispense justice. That leaves you speechless.”