Notorious thief flees French jail by helicopter

Notorious French career thief Redoine Faid escaped from the jail in Reau with three accomplices sources said

Notorious French career thief Redoine Faid escaped from the jail in Reau with three accomplices sources said

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 46-year-old is believed to have fled in a vehicle with the armed accomplices.

The helicopter, whose pilot may have been taken hostage, was found burnt out north of Paris.

Three armed and well-trained men then reportedly presented themselves and demanded Faid's release.

The ministry said Redoine Faid's escape only took "a few minutes" on Sunday and no-one was injured or taken hostage.

Police later found a burnt out black Renault, suspected of being the getaway auto, in Aulnay-sous-Bois, another suburb of the French capital.

It was the second time Faid has pulled off a spectacular jailbreak.

In his 2013 jailbreak, he briefly took four guards hostage with a pistol before escaping in a waiting getaway vehicle. In 2013, he blasted his way out of prison with explosives concealed in tissue packs.

Still, he was the suspected mastermind of the attempted armed robbery in 2010 that led to a high-speed chase and a shootout with police that killed 26-year-old Aurelie Fouquet. He was recaptured six weeks later. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to the French media. He has said his life of crime was inspired by movies such as "Scarface" and "Heat".

In 2017, Faid was sentenced twice, once for 10 years for the previous jailbreak, and the second for 18 years for an attack on an armed van.

Faid was later convicted of the murder of the policewoman along with two accomplices.

Following a decade in prison, he was released under conditions in 2009 after convincing his parole officers that he had changed. He has co-authored several books about his delinquent youth and his life as a criminal in Paris.

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