On Monday, Austrian authorities reported the arrest of a 54-year-old man in the northeastern part of the country. The man was bunked into a private wine cellar with a woman and six children.
The police in Lower Austria are still attempting to identify the six kids, aged between 7 months and 5 years old.
Residents of Obritz, a town close to the Czech border, notified the local government last week that a family was living unlawfully in a wine cellar nearby.
Erich Greil, the vice-mayor of Obritz, stated to the Austrian broadcaster ORF that residents could sometimes hear children’s voices coming from the basement but they would quickly stop when someone came close.
Last Thursday, the two social workers went to investigate when the man attacked them with pepper spray and blocked the entrance to the cellar.
In response, the social workers called the police who then apprehended the man. Upon inspection, the police discovered a woman and the six children, which are believed to be the man’s partner and kids.
Police discovered several weapons, including a gun, crossbows and air guns, at the scene.
They reported that the man said the children were born in England, however they had not been registered in Austria and police were working to verify their identities. It was reported that the children had not been mistreated or hurt and they had been taken to a nearby hospital. They are now in the care of social services.
Local news outlets mentioned that the man was a member of the Reichsbuerger, or Reich Citizens, movement. A conspiracy group that holds the notion that the post-WWII Allied powers’ partition of Germany and its subsequent democratic states were illegitimate and that the original Reich is still in existence.
The Lower Austrian police would not confirm if the man was in fact part of the Reich Citizens.