An observer noted that many small markets have been cancelled in Germany this year, since no one can afford the high cost of insurance and security any longer.
Police are still searching for the senders of the parcel, adding that it was highly likely that the package could have exploded.
But on Sunday, the police said the delivery of the device to a pharmacy near the Potsdam Christmas market was criminal activity rather than terrorism.
It was “an act of extortion” rather than “terrorism,” according to Reuters, citing local authorities.
The package had been used as an attempt to extort money from the DHL company, which delivered it, the interior minister of the state of Brandenburg, Karl-Heinz Schroeter, told a news conference.
A barcode inside the package contained the extortion letter, Brandenburg police chief Hans-Juergen Moerke said, with the senders having threatened to dispatch more dangerous packages if DHL refused to pay them.
The logistics company has warned its clients not to open packages originating from unknown or suspicious addresses.
The Potsdamer Neuesten Nachrichten reported that the suspicious object was a 40x50cm delivery to a pharmacy in the city center, where an employee had opened the package and found the wires and technology. As a result, the pharmacy informed the police at around 2.30pm and they closed off the Christmas market immediately, according to the West Berlin head of the police department, Peter Meyritz,
The perpetrators are said to have announced further acts of terror. “Obviously, the perpetrator or the perpetrators view the gravest of injuries to the addressees of these package bombs, even the killing, with approval,” said Brandenburg’s Interior Minister Karl-Heinz Schröter (SPD).
According to the investigators, the Potsdam parcel bomb has just landed by chance at the Christmas market. “It seems coincidence that the package was sent there,” said Schröter on Sunday. The perpetrator could not have known whether the package would be opened directly in the pharmacy next to the Christmas market, he said.
The parcel service DHL does not want to comment on the case. “At the present time we have no opinion”, said a DHL spokesman in Bonn and referred to the investigation of the police.
The parcel service, which belongs to Deutsche Post, delivered 1.2 billion parcels in Germany last year as the market leader. On a peak day in the Christmas business, there were 8.4 million packages delivered.