Magnotta nabbed by German police
Published Monday, June 4, 2012 7:30PM EDT
MONTREAL- German police have arrested Luka Rocco Magnotta, the 29-year-old Canadian man wanted in a gruesome slaying and dismemberment investigation.
He was arrested in the German capital at about 2:00 p.m. [local time] on Monday, Berlin police spokesperson Stefan Redlich told CTV News.
Redlich told The Canadian Press that police acted on a tip from someone who recognized Magnotta at the café.
"He did not resist," Redlich said. "He was arrested without a fight."
Police in the German capital said they were called into an Internet cafe after someone inside recognized Magnotta.
A department spokesman said Magnotta initially tried giving false names to officers, but then conceded: "OK, you got me."
Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere confirmed the arrest later in the day, noting investigators used a fingerprint test to verify that the person in custody was Magnotta.
"We're very happy to tell you that the suspect has been apprehended, but this is far from over," Lafreniere told reporters on Monday afternoon.
Investigators, he added, are now tasked with beginning the extradition process and delving deeper into the suspect's background, including determining if he is linked to more homicides or other crimes.
Lafreniere said bringing Magnotta back to Canada could take some time, a process that will include "a lot of paperwork."
Meanwhile, Redlich said Magnotta is being transported to a prison where he'll be held for questioning. He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is in London for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, has already congratulated police on the arrest.
A report in the German newspaper Bild suggests Magnotta was discovered at an Internet cafe.
The owner of the cafe, in Berlin's working-class Neukoelln district, told The Associated Press that Magnotta had come in to read online news reports about himself when one of his employees thought he looked familiar.
"A colleague recognized him from his photo, because he'd just read the newspaper," said the owner, who spoke on condition he not be identified by name.
He said police happened to be outside at the time, and the employee alerted them.
Time-stamped footage from the cafe's security camera suggests Magnotta was inside at a computer for around two hours before seven police officers were seen moving quickly through the front door.
A couple of minutes later, the footage showed three officers escorting a handcuffed, calm-looking Magnotta, who was sporting sunglasses.
"Well, I'm obviously pleased that the suspect has been arrested, and I just want to congratulate the police forces on their good work," Harper said.
An officer was able to confirm Magnotta's identity, said Redlich, but it's unclear whether the suspect gave his name willingly or had documentation seized.
In the past, Magnotta has used the names Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov.
Redlich said Berlin city police are working with officers at a federal level, who are expected to begin sharing information with their Canadian counterparts.
Magnotta, the subject of an Interpol "red notice," is wanted in the death of Jun Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese student at Concordia University.
Lin's torso was discovered in a suitcase outside the accused man's apartment in Montreal last week. Police later linked the partial corpse to a severed hand and foot that were mailed to the offices of political parties in Ottawa.
Montreal police say Magnotta left Canada on a flight bound for Europe on May 26.
More than one person reported spotting the suspect in northwest Paris over the weekend, Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere of Montreal police confirmed on Sunday.
Various French media outlets reported that police were following Magnotta's movements through Paris by tracking his cellphone activity.
Additional reports indicated items belonging to Magnotta, including air sickness bags and pornographic magazines, were found in a hotel in suburban Paris.
Upwards of 360 tips related to the international manhunt have poured in to police, Lafreniere told reporters on Sunday.
While Magnotta doesn't have a criminal background, the suspect boasts an extensive digital footprint, which includes a website replete with personal photographs.
Police have also identified him as a male model who has appeared in adult films.
An online group claims to have been searching for Magnotta since 2010 after a video of a young man torturing kittens appeared online. It's also alleged that the suspect posted on white supremacist websites, musing about the creation of all-white countries.
The bizarre accusations and grisly case details have grabbed international headlines, with some news outlets billing the suspect as a "Canadian Psycho."
Lafreniere said Magnotta's online profile, and the wide circulation of news of the case over the Internet, helped bring about the suspect's arrest.
"He used the web to glorify himself but it was also the web that helped in his arrest," Lafreniere told reporters.
As speculation swirls, officers at home are trying to separate fact from fiction.
Police have said the severed foot which was mailed to the Conservative Party's Ottawa headquarters arrived with a note warning that six body parts had been mailed out.
Thus far, officers have only recovered the foot and a severed hand which was apparently destined for the Liberal Party of Canada's offices.
As well, police believe that a video posted to a website specializing in gory videos may depict the victim being dismembered.
Magnotta faces five charges in Canada including first-degree murder, causing an indignity to a body and using the mail system to deliver "obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous" material.
With a report from CTV Montreal and The Canadian Press