German fugitive Norman Volker Franz, 52, escaped prison in 1999 never to be seen again, until authorities reported on Monday that they believe the convicted killer is hiding in the Caribbean islands.

According to a report from The Daily Mirror, Franz was spotted by a German tourist vacationing in Curacao, who then reported their findings to the authorities. There has not been a lead in Norman Volker Franz’s whereabouts since he escaped a prison in Portugal in 1999.

“A German tourist saw a man on the island in April who matched Norman Franz’s description,” North Rhine-Westphalia police revealed. “He [Franz] knows that he is not allowed to be near Germans, [because] they might recognize him.”

German Fugitive Norman Volker Franz, missing for over 20 years after escaping from a prison in Portugal
German Fugitive Norman Volker Franz, missing for over 20 years after escaping from a prison in Portugal. Photo Credit: Interpol

According to authorities, the German fugitive should not be approached and is considered armed and dangerous. He received a life sentence for his various charges, escaping after he sawed off his cell bars.

“Franz has a long history of violent and organized crime, including armed robberies,” Interpol said in a statement after issuing a red alert. “He was convicted of murder in 1996, after throwing a grenade into a car which killed two of its occupants.”

Reportedly working in real estate at the time, Norman Volker Franz got involved with organized crime and mob activity in Germany, robbing banks and smuggling cigarettes.

After killing two people in vehicle bombing, he attempted to flee the country with his 23-year-old girlfriend, Sandra C., killing three security guards during his escape – Rudolf Tamm, Gerd Koch and Peter Seidel. They were about to store £214,000 pounds (roughly $287,814) in an armored car, according to The Daily Mirror, which Franz stole after the shooting.

“The security guards had no chance,” a police officer said at the time. “He planned to shoot straight away from the start.”

He was finally arrested four months later in 1998 in Albufeira, Portugal. Escaping not long after, he has been on the run ever since without a trace.

“As there is an outstanding warrant of arrest for Norman Volker Franz on suspicion of robbery and murder in five cases, he is subject of world-wide searches,” Europol explained. The international agency also issued a $36,000 for any information that could lead to Norman Volker Franz’ arrest.

RTL News, a German news outlet, reported back in Feb. 2021 that Interpol’s search for Franz extended out to 194 countries.

Though marked a “serial killer” in Germany, Norman Volker Franz would be considered more of a high-profile bank robber in the United States. Most of the convicted German fugitive’s victims have been security guards and bank employees, as Franz robbed establishments for the money.

In an interview with his former cellmate, Jörg K, he said that he was present when Franz sawed through the bars of their cell and escaped, threatening to kill his family outside of the jailhouse if he snitched.

“He wanted to get out of the prison immediately,” he told RTL News. “I should’ve broken out with him, but I told him I don’t want to and that I’d already completed most of my sentence.”

“It took him about three to four hours to file through the bars,” he continued. “He put me under a lot of pressure and threatened to kill me if I pressed the emergency call system.”

Jörg never snitched to the prison guards, and Franz became one of Europe’s most wanted men.

According to the head investigator on Franz’ case, “Franz is a polite, intelligent person,” who “can be very charming towards women.”

“Franz wants to achieve his material goals, or get money in short,” the investigator continued. “The use of funds is completely irrelevant to him. He’s very, very dangerous.”