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Bike thief and priest fined for breaking coronavirus measures

17:23 15/04/2020

Could your day get worse? You’ve just stolen a bike from where it was parked at train station. It was a piece of cake because you used a grinding wheel – which you had also stolen.

You make off with the bike easy-peasy. But oh no, here come the police. It appears that an SNCB employee was watching you on camera the whole time and had called them.

So you are busted and taken into custody, where you are handed a big fine. But not for stealing the bike. For running a ‘non-essential errand’, not allowed under the coronavirus measures.

Of course this didn’t happen to you; you are not that dumb. But one man from Liedekerke is. Police are now investigating if he has stolen other bikes in the area.

Holy moly

A pastor at the famed basilica in Scherpenheuvel, meanwhile, was also slapped with a fine when he livestreamed his Easter Vigil service. Nothing wrong with that, but he was surrounded by 11 others at the time.

Some of the entourage were fellow priests who in fact live under the same roof as Father Luc Van Hilst, while others were colleagues helping with the livestream. Doesn’t matter, a police spokesperson told ROB-tv. “Streaming a service in the presence of 11 colleagues is an offense.”

Van Hilst was rather surprised. “For so many people, Easter is an important Christian holiday,” he said. “Of course it’s not possible to celebrate it together in church this year. So I sent it out live together with a few priests and colleagues, with all due respect for keeping our distance and naturally in an empty church.”

Van Hilst said that he will not fight the ticket. “But it’s all very confusing. I’m allowed to lead a funeral service of 15 people who I don’t know, but a livestream with people who I do know is against the rules. But OK, if it’s not allowed, it’s not allowed.”

Photo ©Siska Gremmelprez/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw