Suspected possession of child pornography Police search garden plot in Bonn-Friesdorf

Bonn · Bonn police searched a garden property in Friesdorf on Friday. Sniffer dogs and a drone were also used. The man renting the community garden plot is suspected of possessing child pornography.

 Police searched a hobby garden plot in Friesdorf on Friday.

Police searched a hobby garden plot in Friesdorf on Friday.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

On Friday, a large number of police and law enforcement officers from the State Criminal Police Office were deployed to a colony of community garden plots in Friesdorf. Called “Schrebergarten”, these are allotted parcels of land where people can grow fruits and vegetables, and many have small sheds on them as well. A man who rents one of these gardens was suspected of having been in possession of child pornographic material. Already on Thursday, the officers arrested the 42-year-old man on the overgrown property between the South Cemetery (Südfriedhof) and the railway tracks after receiving a tip-off. Two other men, aged 29 and 54, who were also found at that location, were allowed to leave the police headquarters after they were questioned and their personal information recorded.

The garden shed on the property had been watched all night long by police, and on Friday morning, investigators from the relevant criminal divisions arrived to secure the evidence. They also searched the area with a drone.

Data storage sniffer dogs also used

Armed and wearing bulletproof vests, the officers searched the “Schrebergarten” from 10:30 am. Because of investigative tactics, the local police did not want to say to what extent child pornographic material was seized. However, several data storage sniffer dogs were also deployed on the premises throughout the day. In the man's garden shed, the officers seized not only data storage devices but also an air rifle and about 50 grams of marijuana. They also discovered a cellar which the 42-year-old had apparently dug.

Lot of the 42-year-old is in secluded location

The garden plot rented by the 42-year-old man is located between the rear exit of the South Cemetery and the railway tracks. Several of those who tend the community garden plots in the neighborhood have built small shelters on the differently sized parcels of land and grow fruit and vegetables. While most of the gardens can be seen from the small cul-de-sac, the 42-year-old suspect's plot is blocked from view. It is impossible to see what is hidden behind the randomly piled up boards, beams and tarpaulins. Only a motorcycle, which is currently not registered, can be seen through the wooden gate.

"For hours, loud music boomed from this garden to the outside," said Marianne Lerschke, who happened to be watching the police action yesterday. She regularly comes to the South Cemetery to visit her husband's grave. "I found it disrespectful. A cemetery is a place of peace, of memory and reflection. Loud ‘Schlager’ music really has no place in the neighborhood", she said with irritation. "I never saw anyone on the property, but I always heard someone." A bit further on, another hobby gardener has just tilled his field. "No," he says. "I do not know the man personally. I've only seen him now and then. He seemed very unkempt," he says. "Nobody I want to have any closer contact with."

The 42-year-old is no longer in police custody, as there were no grounds for arrest. However, the investigations are still ongoing. While the police searched the garden plot, the man came by, but was immediately sent away. Since the suspect apparently lived on the garden plot, the police also informed the Public Order Office of the City of Bonn. People are not allowed to live at a “Schrebergarten”.

(Orig. text: Gabriele Immenkeppel / Translation: ck)

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