Stowing a Panther Tank and Anti-Aircraft Gun in the Cellar Is Bad, Man Finds – autoevolution

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As it turns out, stocking your cellar with military vehicles and weaponry might not be the best idea. One pensioner from Germany will most likely find this out the hard way, since he’s facing a huge fine for doing just that.

This story goes back to 2015, when the German army were called in at a private property in the affluent town of Heikendorf, to remove stuff that should not be there. “Stuff” is an understatement: the gentleman owner had there a 1943 Panther tank, an anti-aircraft gun and torpedo, and a wide assortment of assault rifles, pistols and ammunition.

When the Panther tank was removed from the property, the scene turned into a genuine spectacle. The army brought in modern-day tanks to pull the Panther into a clearing, from where it could be pushed onto a low-loader. It took 20 men over nine hours for the extraction of the tank alone.

According to local reports at the time, the man’s haul was a sort of open secret in the community. The mayor of the town told the media at the time that the man was seen “chugging around in that thing during the snow catastrophe in 1978.” When it was seized, the tank no longer had tracks, so no more chugging around was possible.

Still, the old man is believed to have violated Germany’s War Weapons Control Act for buying and storing all this in his cellar and on his property. As such, he’s facing a suspended prison sentence and a fine that could go as high as €500,000 (or $591,000 at the current exchange rate). The trial is ongoing, and the defense attorney is trying to argue that the man, now 84 years old, did nothing wrong, the BBC notes. The tank was bought for scrap metal, the attorney has stated in court.

The attorney is also asking for a lower fine, which the pensioner could cover through the sale of the very items seized. There’s been interest in the Panther tank both from German collectors and overseas, from a U.S. museum.

A decision in the ongoing court case is expected next month.

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