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David Griffith

David Griffith

David Griffith has been editor of POLICE Magazine since December 2001. He brings more than 25 years of experience on magazines and newspapers to POLICE. A Maggie award-winning journalist, his byline has appeared on hundreds of articles in POLICE and other national magazines.



Melanie Basich

Melanie Basich

Managing Editor Melanie Basich joined POLICE Magazine in 2000 (when her last name was still Hamilton). An award-winning journalist, she has covered such topics as agency budgets, officer suicide, emerging law enforcement technologies, and active shooter tactics. She writes and manages the product section of POLICE.
Editor's Notes

Deadly Pets Dine on Dumbass Dangerous Animal Collector

August 28, 2007  |  by - Also by this author

Before we get started, here’s the disclaimer. The following is a really gross story of cops finding a dead body in Germany. You have been warned. So don't complain to me.

OK, I had to comment on this one. I know it has nothing to do with American law enforcement. But it’s a great story, it does involve police action, and, besides, I do this blog in my spare time—so if a story hooks me, it’s going to be grist for this mill.

Here’s the deal. It seems that the friendly neighborhood Polizei were recently summoned to an apartment in Dortmund. They were summoned by the call that many cops worldwide have come to dread: “Neighbors report foul smell.”

Upon opening the door, they discovered the body of Mark Voegel, 30. And well, Mark had looked better.

You see, Mark collected really deadly critters. His favorite pet was a black widow spider named Bettina. Unfortunately for Mark, Bettina did not feel the same way about him. Or maybe she did. After all, black widows devour their loved ones.

And as near as the German authorities can tell, that’s exactly what Bettina did. Well, at least she got in the first bite. Many people get bitten by black widows and survive the experience, most none the worst for wear. For some reason, Bettina’s venom put Mark down for the count.
Which is when the buffet opened up for his exotic menagerie. Mark had turned his flat (as they say in Europe) into a kind of half-assed zoo exhibit that would only be frequented by people who literally want to come face to face with creepy crawlies. He had spiders, snakes, lizards, insects, etc.—and many of them roamed free in his home.

Imagine walking in on this scene as described by the British newspaper The Sun:

A police spokesman said: “It was like a horror movie. His corpse was over the sofa.

“Giant webs draped him, spiders were all over him. They were coming out of his nose and his mouth.

“There was everything there one could imagine in the world of reptiles.

“Larger pieces of flesh torn off by the lizards were scooped up and taken back to the webs of tarantulas and other bird-eating spiders.”

Police described Voegel’s home as a cross between a botanical garden and the butterfly breeding ground in the serial killer movie “The Silence Of The Lambs.”

One tarantula had built a nest the size of a swallow’s in a corner of the ceiling.

Voegel also had a boa constrictor and several poisonous frogs from South America.

Spider expert and animal cruelty officer Gabi Bayer said he kept creatures “that should never be allowed in a private home”.

She said: “He had spiders so aggressive they are the equivalent of a pit-bull in the animal world.”

Voegel is thought to have been dead for between seven and 14 days.

A post-mortem will be carried out in the next few days. But authorities believe Bettina alone was responsible for Voegel’s death.

Two thoughts on this:

Our buddy Mark deserves a Darwin Award for letting deadly creatures roam free in his home. What you want to bet he belonged to PETA. Only somebody who truly believed there is no such thing as a bad animal would live like this.

The second thought—and let’s get serious for a moment. It is often your job to go in some weirdo’s house and check on his welfare. This story illustrates why you need to know what said weirdo has in his house before going through the door. Talk to the neighbors who called you out before you enter said weirdo’s home because worldwide the weirdos are getting weirder.


Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Robert Arbelo @ 9/5/2007 3:23 PM

sweet

fredarice @ 10/1/2007 9:54 AM

Always look before you leap!!!

Collegecop_wa @ 10/3/2007 7:08 AM

At least he died doing what he loved - ROFL!

Seriously though, good points there Dave, you never know what is behind the door till it is opened. Thanks for sharing!

Joey @ 10/17/2007 12:12 PM

Just goes to show that love can kill. I don't think the quote, keep your enemies closer than your friends

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