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Man Faces Attempted Murder Charges Over Alleged ‘Sabotage’ of German High-Speed Rail

CC0 / / Handcuffs
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German police arrested a 51-year-old man late last week after investigators determined he purposefully removed bolts from the tracks of a high-speed rail bridge in a possible attempt to cause a derailment.

Frankfurt’s state prosecutors announced in a Saturday statement that a man aged 51 and “without fixed abode” was arrested by police near the German city of Cologne on Friday night as he was "strongly suspected of having removed bolts on 80 meters (260 feet) of the rail on a bridge between Cologne and Frankfurt,” reported Deutsche Welle.

"Under such circumstances a train could be derailed," a police spokesperson said on Friday. "Luckily no harm came to any trains or passengers."

The man, who is now facing charges of attempted murder, was found to have “specialist equipment” used for loosening track bolts in his vehicle, according to The Guardian. Despite the suspect being without a fixed residence, investigators were able to locate him after a confession to the act was sent via mail to a number of politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Authorities were made aware of the situation by an Intercity Express operator who reported that he saw “something unusual” on the bridge during his Friday shift. The BBC reported that high-speed rail operator Deutsche Bahn characterized the act as “sabotage.” Several trains crossed the tracks before traffic was diverted or trips were canceled.

Though no motive has been determined, the police spokesperson said on March 20 that they would not rule out a "possible attack attempt."

Furthermore, German-language newspaper Frankfurt News Press revealed the suspect had been released from a Nuremberg prison some months ago after serving a sentence for attempted blackmail.

Traffic has since returned to normal near the affected area.

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