A man who sold a pensioner’s kitchen for her on eBay allegedly tried to steal EUR 250,000 from her after the buyer returned a huge stash of cash he had found inside it.
Keen DIY-er Thomas Heller, 50, from the town of Kothen, Germany, was astounded when he found EUR 150,000 (GBP 129,000) hidden inside a second-hand kitchen he had bought on eBay in April.
He handed in the cash to the police, who returned it to the unnamed 91-year-old widow, who reportedly suffers from dementia and lives in a retirement home.
But it has now emerged that the woman’s physiotherapist Maik K., 35 – who had sold the kitchen for her – went on to try to cheat her out of EUR 250,000 (GBP 215,000).
The public prosecutor’s office in Halle told German media: “We are conducting investigations into suspected infidelity and embezzlement to the detriment of a senior citizen.
“The suspect is said to have used a power of attorney.”
The attempted theft came to light when the woman’s bank became suspicious about a EUR 200,000 (GBP 172,000) transfer allegedly requested by Maik K. from the woman’s bank account.
They froze the transfer and contacted the police.
Investigators are said to have established that about EUR 50,000 (GBP 43,000) had already been obtained by the physio, who had ordered several luxury cars from a dealership.
The investigation is ongoing.
At the time of the kitchen sale, it was reported that the physio did not know about the cash hidden in the drawers.
Buyer Heller was astonished when he started reconstructing the cabinets and found envelopes stuffed with banknotes.
He said: “One was open and a lot of EUR 100 bills were looking at me.”
Under German law, keeping found cash worth EUR 10 (GBP 8.60) or more is a criminal offence and is classified as embezzlement.
Offenders can face up to three years in prison.
But thanks to a Good Samaritan clause, Thomas is now eligible for a three per cent finders fee, worth EUR 4,500 (GBP 3,870).