Aftenposten Nettutgaven
 Thursday March 08 2007
Aftenposten Nettutgaven First published: 27 Oct 2003, 09:47
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Police nab 'The Count' after he fled jail

A convicted murderer and arsonist known as "The Count" (Greven) in Norway was recaptured in a dramatic police operation early Monday. Varg Vikernes was on the run after failing to return from an approved prison leave over the weekend.

Varg Vikernes previously was known for his pale complexion and long straight hair. He's since changed his appearance.

PHOTO: ROAR VESTAD


Vikernes was sentenced in 1994 to 21 years in prison, Norway's maximum jail term, after the avowed Satanist was found guilty of murder and setting fire to three churches in the early 1990s.

Unbeknownst to many, Vikernes was being allowed to serve his prison term in a so-called "open" penitentiary in Toensberg, a low-security facility where Vikernes was allowed a certain amount of freedom. On Saturday, he was granted full leave from 7am to midnight.

He failed to return, however, and police immediately launched a search.

On Sunday afternoon, a family of three driving through the valley known as Numedal in Buskerud County reported being flagged down by a pedestrian. When they stopped to assist him, the pedestrian believed to be Vikernes allegedly threatened them with a pistol and hijacked their car.

The car was ultimately spotted around midnight Sunday by an unmarked police patrol in Romerike, north of Oslo. Believing Vikernes to be armed, police responded with five police cars and armed officers.

"We signalled for him to pull over, but when he failed to respond, we had to press his car in between two police cars," police operations leader Vidar Hjulstad told wire service NTB Monday morning.

Vikernes was being held in an Oslo jail on Monday and faces being transferred to a higher security prison. Several politicians were questioning why Vikernes had been allowed to serve at the open Berg Prison in Toensberg, and said they'd demand a review of the criteria used in deciding where prisoners should serve their time.

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Nina Berglund/NTB


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