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The man who ignited the pursuit of the Black Forest by stealing police weapons was imprisoned | Germany




A man has been sentenced to three years in a German prison for stealing police weapons and evading arrest in the woods, sparking a major crackdown.

The regional court in the south-western city of Offenburg sentenced Yves Rausch, 32, to illegal possession of a weapon, resistance to arrest, grievous bodily harm and taking hostages.

The sentence was just under three years and nine months required by the prosecution during the one-month trial.

Rausch, nicknamed the Black Forest Rambo, was arrested in July near the French border town of Oppenau after a six-day search that took national titles.

He was found sitting in a bush with five guns and an ax and was taken into custody. Rausch injured an officer standing with an ax, leaving him permanently unable to work.

He had fled into the woods after he managed to disarm four police officers, triggering a major search operation. About 2,500 officers combed the area with the help of special forces, helicopters, holiday dogs and thermal imaging cameras.

Police are looking for Yves Rausch in July 2020
Police are looking for Yves Rausch in July 2020. Photos: Alexander Scheuber / Getty Images

The Rauschs case sparked media comparisons with 1980s action hero Rambo after photos of him in the forest wearing combat clothing surfaced.

At the start of the trial on Jan. 15, his lawyer read a statement from Rausch in which he admitted he was going with the officers’ guns, but said he had no intention of harming and was simply afraid of arrest.

“I am a person who loves freedom,” the statement said.

His lawyer had dismissed the charge of taking the pledge and sought a suspended sentence of 18 months.

The drama began when police were informed of a suspicious man hanging around a hut in the Black Forest. Four officers dispatched to the scene said he cooperated at first but then suddenly threatened them with guns and made them hand in their weapons before fleeing with them.

Police had said earlier that he could also carry a bow and arrow.

Oppenaus chief prosecutor Herwig Schaefer described Rausch as an arms fanatic with a strong penchant for guns.

Rausch has a long criminal record, including charges related to illegal possession of weapons, theft and bodily harm.

He received a juvenile sentence of three and a half years in 2010 after shooting an acquaintance with a bow, seriously injuring him.

Police found child pornography on his cell phone while investigating him for possession of explosives in 2019.

He also received an eight-month suspended sentence for inciting hatred when he was 15 after changing letters to a sign for a youth organization so that it could read The Jews are gone or the Jews have disappeared.

They said he had also built a fake bomb and had previously made anti-Semitic statements and used Nazi swastikas and SS symbols. Prosecutors in court, however, ruled out a political motive.

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