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City council member from Lommel released after questioning

Anick Berghmans

Anick Berghmans has been allowed to leave custody after her interrogation by an investigating judge in Hasselt. The SP.A city council member from Lommel was arrested in the investigation into the recent series of ATM explosions in Flanders. She is under suspicion for theft and being part of a criminal gang, as well as involvement in the explosion in Lommel. The police found a car behind her house that was hidden under a tarpaulin and could possibly be linked to the bombers. A friend of Berghmans, who was arrested in the same investigation, was released earlier.

Over the past six week, Flanders has been plagued by a wave of ATM explosions. In Tielt-Winge, Kinrooi, Buggenhout and Boechout, all the ATMs were blown up with gas. The two most recent robberies  took place simultaneously in Lummen and Lommel, both in the province of Limburg. There was also a seventh attack, in Seneffe, but that has be attributed to copycats.

The mayor of Lommel, Peter Vanvelthoven (SP.A) said he “very shocked” after learning about his colleague. “The facts are particularly serious and the possible involvement of a member of the city council is unacceptable,” he said. In anticipation of further action by the court, Berghmans has been suspended from her duties.

Berghmans (38) has been a member of the city council, representing the SP.A in Lommel, since 2015. She was responsible for child and animal welfare and events. A few years ago she participated in the reality program “Big Brother” (2002) and sang in a band on the VRT’s children’s network.

Arthur Rubinstein
The Brussels Times