Pensioner Else Schulz from Essen loved Internet forums for amateur detectives. However, her computer skills were just surfing the net and emailing, so she had to content herself with quiet reading. She had asked her grandson Nico to show her how to register and post, but all he had said was, “Keep your hands off, Omma.”
Else’s punitive look had reminded him that she, whose mother had once come to Essen from Hanover, did not appreciate the Ruhr-slang. In High German he had added: “You can get a lot of trouble. For example, if you suspect someone. Leave the crime hunt to the police. ”
” But if I’m sure? Can not I at least write that to the police? “
“All right,” Nico had sighed, “but do not worry too much about her pursuing your tips.”
Else’s favorite topics in her favorite forum included serial killer John Smith of York, northern York. He had started his career as a murderer and bank robber in his native country and then left his bloody trail in various countries of the world, without being caught even once.
About half a year after Else first read about John Smith, there was a new article about him in her daily paper. According to him, a woman was sure to have seen him in his native York. “I recognized his face exactly,” she told German reporters. “The hem of his coat was torn at one point. Like he was stuck with it somewhere. “
Else thought. And thought even more sharply. And delved into several Wikipedia articles on her computer. Then she called Nico.
“Omma … er, grandma … is it important? I’m in a great hurry. Today is the 10th of July, and tomorrow I have to finish my written exam for the university. “
“Well, good luck then.” She hung up. Maybe, she thought, it’s okay if Nico knows nothing. He would certainly advise against it.
On the Internet she searched for the e-mail address of the Essen police. Then she designed a letter. Only with the fifth draft she was satisfied. She read the mail through again and then sent it off.
In the evening, Nico answered by phone. “Granny, excuse my hurry this afternoon. At the moment I have some time. What did you want to tell me? “
Else laughed. “Everything is already done. I emailed the Essen police with a clue where serial killer John Smith was staying. “
“You have something?!?”
“Yes, you’ve heard right. Now I’m curious what happens. If they arrested the guy, I would have to get a reward, right? Could YOU take care of that? I would also give you twenty percent of the reward. “
Two days later, Else was sitting in front of the TV when Nico called. “Granny? Can I just drop by? I have to show you something!”
When her grandson entered, she did not trust her eyes. Nico wore a bright summer bouquet in one hand and a sheet in the other, which appeared to be a printed Internet message. The flowers he gave his grandmother with the words: “I congratulate the super-detective!” Then he handed her the sheet. When Else read it, she forgot the standard German of her Hanoverian mother and said only: “Boah!”
Under the headline SERIALMÖRDER FOLLOWED – ESSENER RENTNERIN GAB HINT stood there:
“Serial killer John Smith, born in York, United Kingdom, for ten years worldwide, was arrested on the advice of a pensioner from Essen. She had read a message that Smith had allegedly been recognized by a woman in his hometown of York. The woman had mentioned German reporters against the man’s torn coat pocket. This astonished the Essene. She emailed her local police station that no one in July would wear a coat in the local climate, which included English York. If the journalists who had circulated the message had mistakenly thought of the place of birth of the man at the place name York, while in reality a city in the southern hemisphere of the earth was meant, namely York in Australia? There is winter now. The climate in that area was mild but coatable. The Essen police contacted their colleagues in Perth, the capital of the state of Western Australia, where York is located. This managed to track down the wanted. Whether his coat pocket has been patched, is not known. “