Wednesday, 23. July 2014
05. 11. 12. - 13:00
A gentleman thief who carried out a series of armed robberies across the UK and was jailed for 14 years in 2006 has carried out another armed raid after being deported back to his native Austria.
Peter Zarre, now 59, was known as the polite robber after he held up 11 building societies nationwide at gunpoint - apologising to staff before fleeing each incident.
The court heard this was the second time he had been deported back to Austria after carrying out a similar string of armed robberies for which he was jailed for 15 years in 1986.
Austrian-born Zarre carefully targeted small branches of building societies in English country towns and Gloucester Crown Court heard that his trademark was to wear a floppy hat and to tell staff: "I am really sorry. This is really silly, but I need some money. Can you fill this bag."
Zarre was back in action in Vienna last week armed with a fake bomb made from candles designed to look like dynamite. And this time round he was no longer so polite, at least when talking in his own language – telling staff at the Raiffesien Bank in the city's Seilergasse, "Give me the money, and quickly."
He then ran to the nearby underground line where he fled to the Schonbrunn Palace tourist attraction and, with police closing in, hid in a toilet at the visitors advice centre where he was arrested still wearing a baseball cap and a wig. According to local media he told police: "I'm sorry, but I needed the money."
The court in England that saw him jailed in 2006 but released early for good behaviour and deported back to Austria for the second time heard that he had stolen 30,000 GBP and had used the money to pay for prostitutes.
Prosecutor Kim James said that the raids in the UK had started on August 18 2005 at the Ipswich Building Society in Aldeburgh, and ended in Wotton under Edge, Glos, on April 25 2006 after he had robbed the local C&G branch of 1,200 GBP. In every case he researched the details of the branches on the building society websites – and would print out maps from the internet and spend days preparing each raid, said Mrs James.
In the UK raids he also wore wigs, and a hat, with clothes from charity shops to disguise himself and he would threaten staff with a fake gun before riding off on his bicycle.
Zarre had admitted six robberies and six offences of having a fake firearm in his possession and asked for five more robberies and five similar firearm offences to be considered.
After being jailed for 14 years, he told Judge Martin Picton: "Thank you very much, Your Honour. Thank you very much for your leniency."
Judge Picton had told Zarre his offences were aggravated by the fear he had caused to his victims, mainly women - and by the fact that he had carried out a similar campaign of robberies and been deported once already.
The defendant was sentenced to 12 years concurrently for each of the latest robberies and two years consecutively for the firearms offences - a total of 14 years. But he was released early and deported back to Austria where he is now back behind bars for the latest incident.
Zarre was born in Austria but came to Britain when he was 18 months old and was educated in the UK where he qualified as an engineer. He later went to the former Rhodesia and served in the army there but then found himself rootless and stateless. He became increasingly desperate for money because of his status and committed the 1980s robberies.
Having served his time he was deported to Austria but returned after a year before going to Bosnia, where he worked for more than two years as a relief aid driver. He then went to Zimbabwe before returning to the UK in 2003 and working as an artist before finding he needed money - and turning again to crime.
» Travel 2013-04-01
Looking out of the window you may think of anything other than summer, but it is rapidly approaching and that means one thing - Summer holidays!
» Panorama 2013-03-18
Glamour and glitz were out in force at the weekend as stars from Austria and further afield flocked over the red carpet into the Vienna City Hall for a night of awards, dance and partying!
» Panorama 2013-02-11
By far the sweetest event in the Vienna Ball season - the Bonbon Ball took place this weekend.
Austrian Wine Grower Sets New Record For Maturing Grapes
An award-winning Austrian winegrower is believed to have set a new record after leaving harvested grapes for an incredible nine months before fermenting them to create an ultra-sweet white and red wine.
Austrian Castle Owner Shocked By Airplane Wheel In Duck Pond
An Austrian castle owner got a shock after discovering this massive aircraft wheel had landed in his duck pond.
Glock Receives Austrian Award At Birthday Party
Austrian gun maker Gaston Glock has celebrated his 85th birthday with a huge ceremony in which the charitable work of himself and his wife Kathrin was honoured with a top Austrian award, and confirmation that this year two streets and a business park are to be named after him.
Sausage Surprise As Giant Wurst Is Pinched
Austrian police are hunting crooks who broke open a market stall and stole a 1.5 metre sausage worth over 2,000 EUR in the picture postcard village of St Michael in the region of Lungau.
Multi Coloured UFOs In Formation Over Austria
Austrian officials say they are baffled to explain a UFO sighting in which dozens of people reported seeing between 50 and 100 objects flying in formation.
Priests Furious After Porn Films Shot In Local Parish Church
A furious Austrian Catholic priest has complained to police after discovering a local woman had apparently been using his church as a studio to make porn films.
Two metre snake sends woman motorist fleeing
An Austrian motorist got a shock after noticing something hanging down from under her car – and realising it was a huge two metre snake that had ended up curled around the engine.
What is on at Haydn Kino this week? (10 July - 16 July)
The following films are on at the English language cinema Haydn Kino on Mariahilfestrasse between 10 July and 16 July...
Beekeeping is booming in Vienna
People living in Vienna have got a new hobby - beekeeping.
Queen of Englands favourite horses used as lawnmowers in Vienna
Horses from the famous Spanish Riding School are being used to help keep the grass down in city parks in Vienna.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Vintage Luxury Car Prepared For Prince Philip Rusts In Romanian Car Park|
|Society Girl Gave Adopted Kid Back A Day Later After Sleepless Night|
|Sausage Surprise As Giant Wurst Is Pinched|
|Michael Schumacher Family In Talks With Micro Chip Docs|
|Glock Receives Austrian Award At Birthday Party|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.