The prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann allegedly used lock-pick tools to break in and abduct the young British girl, an ex-friend has claimed.
German man Christian Brueckner reportedly boasted to a friend about the tools he'd obtained, raising fresh doubts about the original theory that Madeleine's kidnapper climbed through a window at the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.
The Sun on Sunday reports German police are "electrified" by the lock-pick kit revelation, and are also probing the possibility of Brueckner using car paint solvent to sedate Madeleine.
The Sun reports police had been told Brueckner had access to car paint solvent as he had been a mechanic.
Helge Busching, 52, is now under German police witness protection. He told filmmaker Jutta Rabe for The Sun on Sunday "he [Brueckner] came through the door" of the holiday apartment.
Busching, who met Brueckner a year before Madeleine disappeared at the age of three, claims he found a lock-pick set at Brueckner's home.
"You can use it to pick any lock, including security locks."
Busching told The Sun Brueckner often stole from tourists, and left passports "on the table" as well as cameras and suitcases.
"I knew from Christian that he uses tools to break into holiday resorts, hotels and holiday homes to steal from tourists," Busching said.
The Sun reported they've seen the 14 picks, which are black stainless steel. Each is designed for a specific door type.
The theory has been Madeleine's kidnapper broke in through the metal window shutters of the holiday apartment which were rolled all the way up at the time.
When Busching was asked how Brueckner could have gained entry, he said: "Through the door. Easily. He can open any door."
He also revealed Brueckner allegedly gave details of how he kidnapped Madeleine during a conversation.
"We came to Maddie and I said, 'Anyway, I don't understand how the little one could have disappeared without a trace'.
"Christian had drunk two or three beers and then said: 'She didn't scream'.
"I immediately checked what he said. I thought, he knows that. He has something to do with it."