Scrooge's arrest seen as humbug by public

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The Independent Online
BONN - Police are keen for him to be regarded as a serious criminal and potential murderer - but the public still sees him as the man who made the police look ridiculous. He seems certain to end up in prison, but he may also become a rich man, writes Steve Crawshaw .

Dagobert - Germany's eccentric blackmailer - had tried to bomb the country's biggest department-store chain, Karstadt, into handing over DM1.5m ( pounds 610,000).

His story seemed to have ended when he was arrested in Berlin last month. However, his career shows no sign of fading. The I- love-Dagobert T-shirts are selling well, as is a rap number featuring a police recording of his voice.

A magazine has paid pounds 35,000 for the first crack at Dagobert's story. Now, book and film rights are being bid for, allegedly for around pounds 4m.

Dagobert - the German form of Uncle Scrooge, uncle of Donald Duck - was the name given to Arno Funke, 44, a former dj, sign- painter and a keen assembler of electronic gadgets. It is this last quality which made him famous.

He used a radio-controlled device to snatch blackmail money from a train - only to discover the bag was filled with shredded paper; took cash from the bottom of a previously prepared box before escaping through the sewers; and managed to avoid arrest when a policeman slipped - cartoon- style - on dog mess.