Two men arrested for arson attack on homeless man at Munich central station

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Two men arrested for arson attack on homeless man at Munich central station

Munich central station. Photo: DPA

Police arrested two men on Saturday night on suspicion of attempted aggravated assault against a sleeping homeless man. The men have admitted to the crime, saying they did it “for fun.”

Early in November the two young men came across the 51-year-old man as he was sleeping on a bench late in the evening in Munich Hauptbahnhof.

First they took pictures of him, including taking selfies of themselves sitting next to the sleeping man. One of the perpetrators then set the man's possessions alight with a cigarette.

Passersby who noticed the incident were able to push the burning bags away from the still sleeping man, preventing worse from happening. Police say that the man could have been severely burned in the incident if no one had intervened.

The culprits were able to flee via an S-Bahn train.

In their attempts to track the two men down, police released images taken from CCTV cameras and several people contacted the authorities saying that they recognized the men.

One of the men, a 25-year-old Italian, was arrested in Starnberg, a small town south of Munich. The other man, also who also holds Italian citizenship, was arrested at his place of work, police said in a statement on Sunday.

The men admitted during interrogations that they had committed the crime, saying that they wanted “to have a bit of fun.”

A similar incident occurred on Christmas Eve last year when a group of youths from Syria and North Africa set fire to the possessions of a sleeping homeless man in a Berlin underground station. The crime was particularly widely reported due to the fact that the culprits were young asylum seekers.

The main perpetrator in that incident was sentenced to six months in jail for attempted aggravated assault.