Published: Mon, July 02, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

Top French criminal Redoine Faid escapes prison by helicopter

Top French criminal Redoine Faid escapes prison by helicopter

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the jailbreak.

"It was a spectacular escape".

A notorious French gangster broke out of prison Sunday morning, when three heavily armed accomplices landed a helicopter in the jail courtyard and flew off with him, according to local reports.

The 45-year-old robber was serving 25 years for his part in a 2010 hold-up of a cash-transport van in the Paris region which led to the death of a 26-year-old policewoman.

After the helicopter that flew Faid out of jail was set on fire, its occupants fled by vehicle in a black Renault Megane which they later dumped in the underground auto park of a shopping centre near the airport.

This is his second prison break: in 2013, he escaped after seizing four guards as human shields and blowing several doors off with dynamite.

Sunday's escape from the penitentiary in Reau in the French capital's southeastern suburbs took just minutes, the prison authority said, adding that no one had been injured.

The helicopter was later found burned out in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, in the northern suburbs of Paris.

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A police source said the helicopter pilot was a flight instructor waiting for a student when he was seized by Faid's accomplices, before being later freed in a state of shock. All the hostages were released unharmed.

Wearing police armbands, the three armed men dressed in black and hooded showed up at the prison entrance looking for Faid, a union representative told local media.

In a dramatic style, Faid's associates hijacked a helicopter and made the pilot land it in a prison courtyard that was not protected by anti-aircraft setting.

"A few months ago, the prison's staff said they saw drones flying over the prison", Belloubet said. Faid's brother has been taken into custody for questioning.

Faid was eventually recaptured six weeks later at a hotel in an industrial area on the outskirts of Paris.

Faid is something of a celebrity criminal in France, having embarked on a life of crime in the 1990s when he and his gang pulled off a series of bank- and armored-car heists.

Faid had already previously escaped from jail.

That same year, he wrote a book describing growing up in Paris's notoriously crime-ridden suburbs and starting his life of delinquency.

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