German police find Stasi chief's stolen phone in Berlin flat

Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:31am EST
 
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BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have found East German secret police chief Erich Mielke's office telephone and several other objects stolen from the former Stasi headquarters, now a museum, in a flat in the Neukoelln district of Berlin.

The objects, including spy cameras and hidden microphones, were stolen in two burglaries in 2007 and 2008 and were found by chance in the flat and its cellar in searches linked to another case, Berlin police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Berliners stormed the Stasi headquarters - a multi-storey block where 8,000 employees of the secret police worked - in January 1990, months after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In the 2008 break-in thieves also took an ice hockey stick from Moscow, a wooden board with a portrait of Lenin and a items celebrating 30 years of Communist rule in East Germany. Police said the thieves were probably intending to sell the objects.

The museum has preserved some rooms, including Mielke's office, in their original form, and displays equipment used by Stasi officers to spy on tens of thousands of East Germans.

Mielke - known by East Germans as "the Master of Fear" - was convicted in 1993 not for Stasi crimes but for murdering two policemen in 1931 when he was a communist agitator.

He died in 2000.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Erik Kirschbaum and Louise Ireland)

 
The office of late minister Erich Mielke, who commanded the Ministry for State Security, is exhibited inside Stasi secret police museum in Berlin October 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski