A bizarre discovery in Germany this week has law enforcement officials baffled. A team of scrap metal collectors were diving in the Rhine-Herne canal in Gelsenkirchen in western Germany, using strong magnets to detect metal objects on the canal’s bottom. When the magnets located a large field of metal objects, what the divers found surprised even them and hints at a larger, perhaps nefarious mystery: intact, forcibly opened safes were lying at the bottom of the canal, and German police have no idea whose they are or how they got there.
After the divers found several of the safes, police were called in. Police divers were able to locate forty-five safes in all and, according to Germany’s public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, many of the safes still contain intact documents. Police are currently combing through the presumably sopping wet files to search for any records of to whom they might have once belonged and clues about why they ended up at the bottom of the canal. It is currently believed the safes have been in the water for several weeks, although testing is still being conducted. It’s unclear whether or not the safes were opened prior to being dumped in the canal.
While initial police speculation is that thieves are responsible for the safe’s watery demise, any guess is as good as any at this point. The canal connects to larger German waterways which link up to larger cities like Dortmund, so the safes could have come from anywhere. With the Cold War heating back up around the world and the 2017 German federal elections just a few weeks ago, there’s no telling just what someone might have wanted hidden underneath a canal.