This is one of the weirdest unsolved mysteries from recent history, and after several decades of research and investigation there has still been no consensus as to why three unidentified men including an extremely tall guy nicknamed “The Giant”, committed around a dozen robberies, accompanied by indiscriminate mass killing of witnesses and bystanders, only to steal petty items like coffee, wine, cooking oil. (Seriously!)
In the years between 1982 and 1985, 28 people were killed in these attacks and 40 injured. The M.O. was always the same. There are a number of bizarre details as well. For one, they meticulously planned the robberies, using getaway drivers in fast cars and taking escape routes using obscure roads to evade capture every time; on top of that, when one of their getaway cars was impounded, they stole it back from the police. As mentioned before, they took things like coffee and wine and small amounts of cash. Also, in the last incident, they apparently wore bizarre costumes and masks. It was in this incident that they “roared at and taunted customers,” according to Wikipedia, and “shot anyone who looked at them, including children.”
There have been speculations, but nothing conclusive, that the attacks were actually a politically motivated terrorist plot. One of their victims, the caretaker of a hotel who they tortured and killed during an attack on that hotel, was named Jose Vanden Eynde and Vanden Eynde had been a member of a fascist organization, having served in the Spanish Civil War on the side of Francisco Franco and supposedly maintained ties to said organization. This connection has been proposed as a motivation for the attack, but none of the other victims fit any kind of pattern at all, so it may have been completely coincidental.
There’s also the possibility that the attackers were actually members of the police or military. There were a number of high profile instances of police corruption around the same timeframe of these massacres. A dirty cop by the name of Madani Bouhouche was convicted of murder along with another Belgian gendarme, Robert Beijer - they were apparently acting on behalf of organized crime.
Indeed, revelations recently about a supposed deathbed confession of one of the attackers, “The Giant”, seemed to yield a very promising lead. A longtime police officer and member of an elite military counterterrorism squad, Christian Bonkoffsky (does everyone involved in this have to have such a ridiculous name?) supposedly confessed to his brother in 2015 that he was “the giant” from these attacks, and the resemblance between him and the forensic sketch of “The Giant” is dead-on, even down to the hat (!) which is yet another absurd detail of the story.
However, further followup on his police connections and his possible involvement in the attacks have yielded no conclusive evidence, and have not resulted in any new information about any of the other killers or anything about their motivations.
Is there anyone here from Belgium who remembers this on the news and followed the investigation? Is there anyone else at all who’s familiar with it? And does anyone have any theories?