Pensioner charged over possession of World War II tank
An 84-year-old man has been convicted by a German court for the illegal possession of weapons.
His illegal, personal arsenal of weapons, including a Panther tank, a flak cannon, and other World War II military equipment, was discovered by authorities in 2015.
The man’s storage facility in northern Germany was raided by police in 2015 during an investigation into black market Nazi-art.
The investigation had turned up two bronze horse statues that stood in front of Adolf Hitler’s Chancellery in another man’s possession.
Instead of art, authorities found a cache of machine guns, automatic pistols, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
According to local media, the man was outspoken about his weapons collection and even used the tank as a snowplough during one bad winter.
The man was handed a suspended prison sentence of 14 months and ordered to pay a 250,000 euro ($400,00) fine, German news agency dpa reported.
The defendant was also ordered to sell or donate the 40-tonne tank and anti-aircraft cannon to a museum or a collector within the next two years.
Geral Geocke, the man’s lawyer, spoke outside court, saying the suspended sentence reflected that the weapons were intended as museum pieces rather than for harming others.
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