Bulgarian, German Jailed in Notorious Maybach Trial
A German and a Bulgarian army officer have been sentenced to four years in jail for stealing a vintage World War II tank and attempting to thieve another.
Sliven Military Court decided on Wednesday to send for four years in jail Thomas Gmainer, 36, and the Bulgarian army officer Aleksey Petrov from the Yambol Military Unit.
The other defendant, 67-year old German national Matheus Mayer, was delivered a three-year suspended sentence with five years on probation.
Gmainer and Petrov will also have to pay EUR 1 M in damages to the Defense Ministry, whose property the tanks are.
In November 2007 the two Germans, together with the Bulgarian army officer dug up the Second World War German tank, which laid half buried since World War II near Bulgaria's southeastern border with Turkey.
In December the suspects tried to steal another Maybach from the same region near the town of Yambol but were arrested by the police.
The two German citizens were later released on bail, and at the end of February, 2008 disappeared mysteriously from the Tundzha Hotel in the city of Yambol, leaving behind all of their clothes and other belongings.
They have been detained in Germany with an European Arrest Warrant issued at the request of the Military Prosecutor's Office in the southeast Bulgarian city of Sliven, but were not extradited to Bulgaria and were tried in their absence.