French convict escapes from prison via a helicopter

Leroy Wright
July 5, 2018

French police have launched a massive manhunt for him. He has said his life of crime was inspired by movies such as "Scarface" and "Heat".

On arrival at the high-security facility the pilot landed in the courtyard - the only part of the prison not fitted with anti-helicopter nets.

FILE PHOTO: Prison guards enter the Reau penitentiary, near Paris, September 24, 2013.

One of the most spectacular French aerial escapes occurred in 1986, when a seasoned criminal, Michel Vaujour, was plucked from La Sante prison in Paris by his lover aboard a helicopter.

In this scenario, the drones flying around the prison were likely used to survey the area to plan Faid's escape.

The manhunt is ongoing and an interior ministry official told AFP that almost 3,000 French police were recruited for the search.

Investigators trasnport an Alouette II helicopter allegedly abandoned by French prisoner Redoine Faid and suspected accomplices after his escape from the prison of Reau, in Gonesse, north of Paris, July 1, 2018. It has been reported that the helicopter pilot was released without injury.

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Nobody was injured and the brother was arrested by police.

"They used concrete cutters to get through the first door and then the gates and then went to get him", police union official Jerome Nobecourt told Reuters, adding that the breakout happened in a matter of minutes. Faid and the hijackers also allegedly torched two getaway cars which were found after the escape.

He knew them because they had previously made a flight with him.

But as he approached his R44 Robinson helicopter, which he planned to take the pair out in, the two men told him they would prefer to fly the Alouette II, which was slightly larger. Faid had already escaped prison once before, in 2013, by blasting his way out with explosives that were hidden in tissue packs.

Born into a family of 11 brothers in the gritty Paris suburb of Creil, Faid dabbled in crime from an early age, stealing a supermarket trolley filled with candies at the age of six.

The 46-year-old gangster escaped Seine-et-Marne prison by helicopter in a daylight break. Although he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for these activities, he was released on parole after 10 years.

Faid has authored a book in which he detailed his experiences growing up in a crime-ridden suburb of Paris. Shortly after, he said he was renouncing crime, the AP says, and wrote a book about his early life and his rise through criminal networks in France.

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