Possible break in Hedegaard shooting saga

Police are looking for help in tracking down the owner of a mysterious vehicle seen parked near free speech advocate’s residence just before the attack

Copenhagen Police said today that they have their first new lead in several months in the February shooting attempt against noted Islam critic Lars Hedegaard.

Police are asking the public for help in finding the owner of a dark blue VW Transporter van that was seen in the area of Hedegaard’s residence just before the alleged shooting. The van was purchased a few days prior to the failed attack by a man using a false name and address.

"We would like to find out whether the car and its owner had something to do with the assassination attempt, or whether we can exclude them from the ongoing investigation," Jens Møller Jensen, Copenhagen Police deputy inspector, told Politiken newspaper.

Police have precious few leads after nearly six months of investigating the attack, which Hedegaard claims happened when he answered his door one morning last February thinking there was a post delivery. The man at his door held a package and wore a red jacket similar to the ones worn by Post Danmark employees. When Hedegaard opened his door, the suspect pointed a gun at Hedegaard and fired. The shot missed and Hedegaard says that he fought off the attacker before the man's gun jammed and he fled the scene.

"We have investigated a wide range of leads in connection with the assassination and regret that we have yet to solve the case,” said Jensen.

A witness reported seeing a dark blue VW Transporter van parked near Hedegaard’s residence in March and video footage revealed that the same van was parked in the same spot on the day of the shooting.

Police contacted the registered owner of the vehicle, who told them that he had sold the car via the online marketplace Den Blå Avis three days before the February 5 attack on Hedegaard.

The owner said that the buyer test drove the car and paid the 7,000 kroner asking price in cash.  The buyer told the owner of the van that he was going to use the van for a cleaning company.

The seller’s description of the person buying the van is similar to that given by Hedegaard of his attacker.

Police suspect that the name the buyer gave for the bill of sale, ‘Mohammed Issa’, is fake. The Copenhagen address he provided when purchasing the vehicle does not exist.

"It is important to emphasise that the car and the buyer do not necessarily have a connection with the case,” said Jensen.

Hedegaard is now living at a secret address.

Factfile | Police searching for vehicle buyer

Copenhagen Police described the buyer of the van as male, approximately 25-35 years old, 175-180 cm tall, with a narrow pointed nose, heavy eyebrows, and of an "ethnic origin other than Danish" who spoke fluent Danish. When he picked up the van he wore dark clothing with a yellow neon vest and a lime-green bicycle helmet with pink straps. The man arrived to buy the van on his bike, and left with his bike in the back of the van.

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