Krakow News Roundup: March 2011

Arsonist Targets Suburbs

Nine cars, six garages, 600,000zl worth of damage and immeasurable public unease – that’s the cost so far of an arsonist targeting a wealthy neighbourhood in the south of Krakow.

The attacks have all taken place in the Swoszowice district in the past three months. They all happened between 3am and 5am, and at all the scenes police have found a note, barely legible but apparently warning that the arsonist intends to strike again.

The latest attack was on ul. Niewodniczanskiego overnight between Saturday, 19 February and Sunday, 20 February. During this attack, the front door of a house was also set alight. Neighbours helped the family inside the house to extinguish the flames.

Police told the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that residue found at the scenes suggested the arsonist used an accelerant to start the fires. However, they have not yet been able to identify the substance. Neither is there any apparent link between the victims – beyond the fact that cars and garages belong to the owners of newly-built homes in the same area.

One victim told Gazeta Wyborcza that she had been saved by her neighbour’s daughter, who saw flames coming from the garage when she returned home from a night out with friends. The newspaper reports that residents of Swoszowice are “living in fear,” wondering when the next attack will come. It quotes one resident as saying that people were afraid to sleep at night.

Police have drafted in specialists from around Malopolska to help with the case. They believe the arsonist lives in or close to Swoszowice because he or she appears to know the area well enough to escape after each attack.

Cigarette Smugglers Held

Six people have been arrested after police in Krakow smashed a two-million złoty cigarette smuggling ring.

Officers from the Central Investigation Bureau and the Carpathian branch of the Border Guard raided several addresses in Krakow and around Małopolska arresting six men on suspicion of smuggling.

A police spokeswoman said the cigarettes had been smuggled in to Poland from the Ukraine. They were sold, according to Gazeta Krakowska, at low prices, often to builders.

The District Prosecutor’s Office in Krakow is continuing the investigation. If convicted, the arrested men face fines and jail sentences.

85 Percent Want to Change Job

More than three-quarters of employees in Krakow and the surrounding area want to change their jobs this year.

A report by recruitment specialists HAYS Poland found that 85 per cent of respondents to their survey in Małopolska were planning a career move. Of these, the largest individual group included managers and professionals in accounting, insurance, and human resources.

Michael Młynarczyk, managing director, HAYS Poland in Central and Eastern Europe, said the response to the survey was a “clear signal” that the job market was improving in Poland.

‘Hobby bomber’ Grandpa Jailed

A Krakow grandfather who threatened to blow up his wife — along with all his neighbours — has been jailed for 3 months.

Police found a stockpile of homemade explosives and “rocket fuel” at the home of Grzegorz S. They believe that an explosion at his apartment on ul. Nadrzeczna would have razed the entire block to the ground.

Gazeta Krakowska reported that Grzegorz’s collection included jars of explosive substances, cartridge shells, fuses, TNT and even a homemade gun. The newspaper added that the court was told bomb-making was the man’s “hobby,” and that he was well known for his habit of detonating small devices.

Grzegorz pleaded guilty to possessing explosives, and told the court in Krakow that he had been stupid. The 58-year-old asked for leniency, but was jailed because the judge said Grzegorz’s alcohol dependency meant he had little control over his behaviour.

Tickets please

The price of train tickets with Poland’s national operator PKP are going up – but tickets on some journeys on the Krakow to Warsaw line have been frozen.

The company blamed higher operating costs for the price hike, which ranges from 30 grosz to 4.30 złoty. However, PKP said that tickets for its TLK service between Krakow and the capital – along with some sleeper and weekend tickets – would not be going up. The rise is bound to be controversial given recent travel chaos.

Former Chief Architect Dies

Krakow’s former chief architect has died at the age of 77.

Wojciech Obtułowicz is best known for his work on the Warsaw Uprising Museum in Poland’s capital. But he was also the man behind the new Wisła football stadium in Krakow, completed in 2010, and was actively involved in the political life of the city having stood for the post of mayor in the 2002 election.

Despite winning critical acclaim for the museum in Warsaw, his work was focused mainly on his home town of Krakow. As well as the Wisła stadium, Gazeta Wyborcza includes in his list of achievements the church of Sw. Jana Chrzciciela, the Castle apartments on the bank of the River Wisla, Krakow’s new district court, and the Com-Com Zone sports and education facility in Nowa Huta.

Wojciech Obtułowicz died at his home in Krakow during the night of 12 February, of pneumonia.

One thought on “Krakow News Roundup: March 2011

  • Avatar
    June 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm
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    NOT REALLY A COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, ALTHOUGH I AM HARDLY SURPRISED BY IT BECAUSE I AM NOW BASED IN UKRAINE AND KNOW PERFECTLY WELL HOW CHEAP CIGARETTES ARE HERE!!

    DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A DECENT, RELIABLE GARAGHE WHERE I COULD HAVE MY RIGHT HAND
    DRIVE CONVERTED TO LEFT HAND DRIVE – IDEALLY IN OR NEAR KRAKOW BECAUSE THIS TASK IS PROVING IMPOSSIBLE IN DONETSK AND I NOW REALISE THAT I SHOULD HAVE GOT THE JOB DONE BEFORE CROSING OVER THE POLISH-UKRAINIAN BORDER – LIVE AND LEARN… THANK YOU. MARK.

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