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Oh Crap! Dog Doo Attacks Mucking Up Munich's Mailboxes

Police in Munich are scratching their heads over a bizarre rash of dog poop attacks involving the city's mailboxes. So far they have no idea who is dumping excrement into the mail, nor what the malodorous attacks are supposed to mean.

A classic German mailbox....but what's inside?
A classic German mailbox....but what's inside?


MUNICH -- For months, one or more perpetrators have been slipping dog doo through mailboxes in Munich and surrounding districts. Any mail that comes in contact with the excrement then dirties the conveyor belts in post office sorting areas.

The police have no leads so far as to the identity of the perpetrators, but have established that some of the excrement is also human. Nor do they have any idea about what may be motivating the behavior. "Maybe a grudge against the post office, weird humor – we just don't know," says police spokeswoman Alexandra Schmeitz.

The incidents started this summer, first in mailboxes in the western part of Munich and the districts of Starnberg and Fürstenfeldbruck, and then extending into the eastern part of the city and other outlying districts. Costs to the post office, meanwhile, are mounting into the thousands of euros as dozens of mail boxes have to be cleaned, in addition to the stamping machine conveyor belts in the distribution centers. Processing time is also lost as the belts are stopped for cleaning.

The situation has post office users just as unhappy as its employees. Some mail has to be thrown out as a result of the attacks. Workers try as best they can to clean up the rest. The salvaged mail is delivered in plastic baggies with an explanatory note -- needless to say, addressees remain unenthusiastic about receiving the malodorous missives.

There are several hundred mailboxes in Munich and surrounding districts. "We can't keep them all under permanent surveillance," says spokeswoman Schmeitz. Investigators are asking witnesses to step forward, although none have so far.

The post office is offering 4,000 euros to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators, and issued a warning to the effect that material damage and interfering with the smooth running of a public company could carry penalties including up to five years in prison.

Read the full story in German by Florian Fuchs

Photo - Jude Doyland

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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