Austrian authorities seeking Hitler double seen around birthplace

FILE PHOTO:Activists placed life-size cardboards, depicting Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Philippe Petain in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm monument at the Deutsches Eck ("German Corner") to protest against a European far-right leaders meeting, in Koblenz, Germany, January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo
FILE PHOTO:The sign of Braunau am Inn, the city Hitler was born, is pictured in Braunau, Austria, October 22, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo
FILE PHOTO:The house in which Adolf Hitler was born is seen in Braunau am Inn, Austria, October 22, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger /File Photo

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian authorities are investigating reports of a man appearing in public in Adolf Hitler's birthplace as the Nazi dictator's double, including the distinctive mustache, haircut and clothing.

"I have often seen this gentlemen in Braunau and wonder if this means something," the Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten paper cited a local resident as saying on his Facebook page alongside a picture of the man it said resembled Hitler.

Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, then part of Austria-Hungary, in 1889.

Prosecutors confirmed the report.

The man, estimated to be 25 to 30 years old, was last seen in a local bookstore browsing through magazines about World War Two, adding he had identified himself in a local bar as "Harald Hitler.

On at least one occasion, he was photographed in front of the house where Hitler was born.

Austria's parliament voted in December to buy the three-storey house where Hitler was born, which the government has rented since 1972 to control how it is used.

Glorifying Hitler or the Nazis is a crime in Austria, which Nazi Germany annexed in 1938.

(Reporting by Michael Shields Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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