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Dutch teens arrested for 'Joker' copy-cat threats at schools

By Adriana Stuijt     Feb 11, 2009 in Crime
Dutch police, fearing copycat "Joker" attacks against small children similar to the January 23 slaughter in Belgium, arrested three teenagers suspected of threatening primary schools in the town of Weesp. They feared another 'Dendermonde attack'.
In the attacks in the Flemish town of Dendermonde in Belgium on January 23, self-confessed mass murderer Kim de Gelder, 20, his face painted like the Joker in the movie Batman and wearing a bullet-proof vest, had stabbed to death two baby boys and their carer and stabbed another ten babies and an adult in an terrifying slaughter conducted at a child-care centre.
see our previous report here
Several days ago, police in the town of the Dutch town of Weesp, south-east of Amsterdam, received a series of worrying reports which taken together, immediately raised the alarm: phone calls were placed to the police and to a local primary school with very specific threats, a threatening letter was received by a local school, and a masked man was seen hanging around outside a primary school.
Preventative policing:
Taken together, the Dutch Justice Ministry and other authorities decided that these school communities were clearly at risk and they took no chances, alerting the Weesp municipality at once.Its mayor sent a warning letter to all the parents and the schools, warning them that 'a specific threat' existed and that they had to be alert.
see in Dutch:
On Tuesday-night February 10, a Dutch police TV programme broadcast pictures of three boys making phone calls from the Weesp railway station at around the same time when the local police had also received a very specific telephone threat from a youth. They would not reveal the contents of this threat as yet, since they are still investigating.
The public was asked to help trace these boys, and the police switchboard was flooded with tip-offs. Two of the boys turned themselves in, arriving at the police station with their parents. A third boy was arrested early on Wednesday-morning.They are aged 13 and 14 years. The police has not yet raised its security net over the town of Weesp, but parents all said they were feeling a lot more secure than on Monday. see
Masked man at a school:
The teens, aged from 16 to 20, are being investigated for allegedly terrorising parents, staff and children at schools in Weesp. Police said they can't reveal what kind of threats were issued as yet -- but they did confirm that they had also received alerts about a 'masked man' at a school.
The local authorities took these threats very seriously and launched an immediate search in the area. Police guard units also were posted around all the schools, and the schools and the parents were informed by the municipality by letter that a serious threat existed - and that police had posted watches at all the schools and creches in the area.
Weesp police said they decided to publish pictures of youths who were suspected of placing threatening phone calls and asked the community to help them in their investigation. The response has been 'overwhelming', they said.
They also said that at this stage, it wasn't as yet established whether these teenaged boys were just having a sick prank, or whether their threats were more serious than that. "However we continue to investigate this matter until we know the exact facts'.
Police said the schools in Weesp will remain open. see
Youth site in support of mass murderer
Meanwhile there's a growing youth culture developing in support of the mass baby-murderer Kim de Gelder. Belgian authorities are watching this development very closely, as two French-language support sites were started this month alone on Facebook in support of de Gelder.
The administrator of the first group "Le beau massacre à Termonde", was writing under the name of "Total-killer Almortex". After complaints, the Facebook webmanager removed the site within just hours.
A good baby is a dead baby...
However a second site, also in French, called 'a good baby is a dead baby', was still operating on Facebook today and now has ten members, it is reported in the Belgian news media.
The Belgian Federal Police said that its Computer Crime Unit, which does maintain contacts with Facebook, are not allowed to ask them to remove such offensive sites themselves. An investigating magistrate first has to be appointed to investigate such a site - and only then can it be removed legally under current laws.
More about Dendermonde, Kim gelder, Joker batman, Mass murder, Weesp
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