Highway chase suspect held for allegedly preparing a serious crime
The man arrested during a police action on the A2 highway because of a threatening situation involving crime reporter John van den Heuvel was remanded into custody on Friday. Prosecutors allege that the man was preparing to commit a criminal offense that, if successful, would have carried a prison sentence of at least eight years.
The 36-year-old from Utrecht was arrested on Thursday afternoon. The A2 highway between Maarssen and Breukelen was closed for around an hour in both directions. The reason for the closure remained unclear until Van den Heuvel said later in the afternoon that it had to do with his safety.
Sources told newspaper AD that Van den Heuvel was driving on the A2 in Amsterdam when other vehicles, an Audi and several motorcycles, appeared to chase him. Police brought the Audi to a halt on the A2 about 25 kilometers south of there, and took the suspect into custody, while Van den Heuvel was kept under guard at a police headquarters building in Driebergen.
The Utrecht man was brought before an examining magistrate at an Amsterdam courthouse on Friday afternoon, who ordered the man to remain in custody for at least the next three days. He was being held on suspicion of Article 46 of the Criminal Code, according to a spokesman for the national office of the Public Prosecution Service (OM).
That section refers to the preparation of a crime punishable by eight years behind bars, or more. The criminal acts of extortion, assault, and conspiracy can carry an eight-year sentence, while murder, manslaughter, rape, and human trafficking can be punished by 12 years in prison or more.
Prosecutors can bring the case back to the examining magistrate at the beginning of next week to discuss the progress in the investigation. At that time, his pre-trial detention may be extended for another 14 days.
Van den Heuvel has been under secured protection for quite some time. On Thursday, he thanked the police for their efforts.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times