Norbert Poehlke

The Hammer-Killer

(September 15th 1951 - October 22nd 1985)

A German Police Officer turned career criminal, Poehlke committed suicide before he could ever be brought to justice.

His first known murder victim was a 47 year old man named Siegfried Pfitzer, Poehlke shot him in the head in Marbach, West Germany on May 3rd 1984 and took his car.  This vehicle was found not far away and connected to a bank robbery that occurred the same day.  Poehlke had used what would become his signature weapon, a sledgehammer, to smash a teller’s window.

The same year, on December 21st Eugene Wethey, 37, was found murdered in a similar fashion to Pfitzer, this time near Grossbottwar.  Within a week, his vehicle had been used for a bank robbery getaway car by a man with a sledgehammer.

Wilfred Schneider, a 26 year old man was next to be found shot dead, the murder weapon determined as a police issue pistol.  His body was found in a Beilstein-Schmidhausen parking lot on July 22nd 1985.  Again, the victim’s car was later identified near a bank robbery.

By October 1985, Poehlke was rightly paranoid that the police were treating him as a suspect.  He took some time off work, and a few days later officers went to his house to ask some questions regarding the bank robberies and associated murders.  When they arrived nobody answered, fearing that Poehlke had evaded them and left the area they searched the house.  Poehlke’s wife and son were inside, both had been shot dead, but Poehlke and his remaining son were missing.

Later that week Poehlke’s vehicle was found; he had driven some distance from his residence before shooting and killing his son then himself.  Police confirmed the murder-suicide using ballistic evidence from Poehlke’s pistol.

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