Escaped thief asks police to open handcuffs

BERLIN Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:20pm EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - A man caught breaking into a German supermarket late at night escaped despite being handcuffed to railings -- only to be arrested after he ran to a nearby police station to get the cuffs removed.

"It was stupid of him," said a police spokesman in Frankfurt Monday. "They took the cuffs off, but they kept him."

A security guard had cuffed the man and held three others after spotting the break-in. But by the time officers arrived, the man had managed to escape, police said.

Arriving at the police station, the 19-year-old told officers he had been locked up by a friend as a joke, and asked for their help. The officers at first went along with the ruse, "also laughing at the man's apparent misfortune," police said.

However, suspecting he was the missing man from the break-in, they pressed him for details after removing the cuffs.

The man then confessed his role and was promptly re-united with his three accomplices in the station's prison cell.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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