Armed robber turns out to be victim’s own son

Police in Vienna have arrested an 18-year-old man who together with a friend robbed his own mother during an armed burglary in January.

Armed robber turns out to be victim's own son
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

The 18-year-old and his 23-year-old friend were masked and armed with what appeared to be pistols when they rang the doorbell of the woman’s apartment at around 1.30pm on January 12th in the Donaustadt district.

When the 35-year-old woman opened the door they pushed their way into the apartment, ignoring her screams. The woman grabbed the younger man and tried to push him out of the door and they both fell to the ground during the struggle. Meanwhile the 23-year-old man snatched an inexpensive decorative sword from off the wall, and then both of the men fled.

Police spokesman Patrick Maierhofer said that the woman had suspicions that her son was involved and this was confirmed during the investigation. The 18-year-old was arrested eight days later and the 23-year-old was arrested on February 2nd.

“Both men have a guilty conscience and confessed to everything immediately,” Maierhofer said. The men said they planned to steal money from the woman’s apartment. It’s not clear if they had real guns or replicas, as the weapons have not yet been found. The older man couldn’t explain why he had grabbed the sword, and told police that he was drunk at the time.

Both men are now in police custody.


EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

Following the suicide of an Austrian doctor who received threats from Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, the government has now launched a new campaign to help victims of online abuse.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

The Austrian medical community was left in shock in July when Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a local doctor in Seewalchen am Attersee in Upper Austria, took her own life following months of online abuse.

Kellermayr, 36, had been targeted by anti-vaccination activists and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists for her out-spoken support of vaccines, and the abuse even included death threats. 

Her death prompted candlelight vigils and demonstrations in Vienna and the tragic story was picked up by news outlets around the world.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

This led to calls for tighter laws against online bullying and the ability for perpetrators to be prosecuted in other EU countries – particularly as at least two of the people who are believed to have targeted Kellermayr are based in Germany, according to the Guardian.

The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has even called for the creation of a special public prosecutor’s office to deal with “hate-on-the-net”, but this has been rejected by prosecutors and other political parties, as reported by ORF.

Instead, the Federal Justice Department has launched a new information campaign, website and hotline to help people dealing with online abuse.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

What is in the new campaign?

Austria’s Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) said they have launched the campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to inform victims about the support available.

Zadic said: “It is important to me that those affected know that they are not alone in this situation and that the judiciary supports them with free psychological and legal process support.”

“You don’t have to cope alone with the extraordinary burdens that criminal proceedings can entail, for example through confrontation with the perpetrators.”

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Part of the support package is the new website Hilfe bei Gewalt (Help with Violence), which details how to access help from the authorities, as well as secure free legal advice and representation from a lawyer.

The website states the service is for victims of bullying and/or hate online, defamation, stalking, terrorism, incitement, sexual violence and robbery.

The service is designed to be anonymous with options to contact the Justice Department by phone or via a chat box. The website also lists contact details for regional support services in all provinces across Austria. 

The free (kostenlos) hotline for Hilfe bei Gewalt is 0800 112 112.

Useful links

Hilfe bei Gewalt

Austrian Federal Justice Department