A notorious escape artist has again broken out of a French prison. This time he used a helicopter to flee detention.
French-Algerian career criminal Redoine Faid broke out of a Paris prison on Sunday in a daring escape. The 46-year-old career thief escaped Reau prison by helicopter in a daylight break, authorities said.
According to reports, three accomplices, armed with Kalashnikovs, showed up at the prison entrance demanding Faid’s release. At the same time, a helicopter landed in the prison courtyard, the only part of the complex not covered by anti-helicopter netting. The gunmen then removed Faid from the visiting room, where he had been talking with his brother, and fled in the helicopter.
France’s Justice Ministry said Redoine Faid’s escape only took “a few minutes” and nobody was injured or taken hostage. French prosecutors opened an investigation and police started a manhunt after Faid’s escape. “Everything is being done to locate the fugitive,” an official at the French interior ministry said.
The pilot of the helicopter used in Sunday’s escape is an instructor who had been taken hostage, according to Le Parisien. He was found in Gonesse (Val-d’Oise) to the north of Paris, and was being questioned by the police.
Faid’s escape came after an appeals court sentenced him to 25 years for masterminding an armed robbery in 2010, during which a police officer was killed. It is the second time Faid has broken out of prison. In 2013, he took four prison guards hostage, then used dynamite to blast his way out, fleeing in a waiting getaway car, only to be recaptured six weeks later.
Faid grew up in the French capital’s tough immigrant suburbs. He has said his life of crime was inspired by movies such as “Scarface” and “Heat.” He has co-authored several books about his delinquent youth and his life as a criminal in Paris.
kw,aw/ng (AFP, EFE, Reuters)