German authorities seize tank, several World War II-era military weapons in raid

A 78-year-old collector owned a Panther tank, a flak cannon and a torpedo, among several other World War II-era weapons.

German authorities help transport a World War II-era Panther tank from a 78-year-old collector on Thursday, July 2, 2015 in the town of Heikendorf in northern Germany. Authorities seized several World War II-era military weapons from the collector. The suspect is being investigated for violating German weapons laws. (Carsten Rehder/AP via dpa)
German authorities help transport a World War II-era Panther tank from a 78-year-old collector on Thursday, July 2, 2015 in the town of Heikendorf in northern Germany. Authorities seized several World War II-era military weapons from the collector. The suspect is being investigated for violating German weapons laws. (Carsten Rehder/AP via dpa)

BERLIN (MEDIA GENERAL/AP) – German authorities seized several World War II-era military weapons in a raid Thursday, June 2, 2015.

Local prosecutor Birgit Hess said the raid procured a 45-ton Panther tank, a flak cannon and a torpedo, among other weapons, from a 78-year old collector in northern Germany. The man is being investigated for possibly violating German weapons laws. The collector remains free as the investigation continues.

The suspect’s lawyer told the dpa news agency all the items seized by authorities were properly demilitarized and registered.

According to the BBC, authorities struggled to remove the tank from the suspect’s cellar. The BBC reported it took 20 soldiers nearly nine hours to get the tank, which did not have tracks, out of the cellar and onto a loader truck.

Prosecutors reportedly were tipped off about the suspect’s collection after a May investigation into black market Nazi-era art turned up two bronze horse statues that once stood in front of Adolf Hitler’s office.

According to neighbors, it was no secret the suspect had a tank. Neighbor Kristin Schroeder told the local Kieler Nachrichten newspaper that the man had used the tank during a harsh winter in 1978 to help people move snow.

“It was well known, at least to all the older Kitzebergers, that he had a tank,” Schroeder said.

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