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Notorious helicopter jailbreak gangster arrested in France

A gangster who made a Hollywood- esque helicopter jailbreak was arrested in northern France on Wednesday after three months on the run , sources close to the case said .

was apprehended in the along with his brother Rachid and two other family members , one source said , confirming earlier media reports.

A massive manhunt was launched after Faid’ s daring July 1 escape , in which two heavily armed accomplices used smoke bombs and angle grinders to break through doors and whisk him to a waiting helicopter.

Faid , a career criminal with multiple convictions for armed robbery who had escaped from prison once before , was sprung from the jail in Reau, 50 kilometres ( 30 miles) southeast of Paris .

Around 100 police were deployed to track down the 46-year- old , who has cited movie baddies such as Tony Montana in “ Scarface ” as an inspiration and said he discovered his “ calling ” at the age of 12.

Weapons were seized in the raid which unfolded calmly in the town of Creil in the early hours of Wednesday , according to the source .

Outgoing Interior Minister Gerard Collomb praised the local police force in a tweet for their “ commitment , bravery and determination” .

Faid, who previously escaped from prison in 2013 before being captured six weeks later , had been serving a 25- year term over a botched 2010 heist in which a policewoman was killed, though he claims her death was accidental .

– Smoke bombs –

The spectacular jailbreak saw two men posing as flight -school students , who had already taken an introductory flight , force a helicopter instructor at gunpoint to fly them to the jail .

The terrified pilot landed in the courtyard — the only part of the prison not fitted with anti -helicopter nets.

A pair of black- clad men armed with assault rifles then alighted and set off smoke bombs before breaking into the visiting room , where Faid was meeting with his brother who was later taken into custody.

The wardens , who were unarmed, fled and raised the alarm. But within 10 minutes Faid was gone, cheered on by his fellow inmates.


The helicopter was found shortly afterwards in a suburb northeast of Paris , along with the pilot , who had been beaten and was taken to hospital in a state of shock .

Several days after his escape investigators found a stash of guns, masks and a cement cutter in the Oise region where Faid grew up, which they believed belonged to his gang.

Faid narrowly avoided capture on July 24 and had to abandon a car containing explosives after he was identified as one of two people who sped away when police tried to carry out a security check on their car north of Paris .

In early September police carried out searches targeting the robber ’ s relatives , but made no arrests .

The escape , which brings to at least five the number of jailbreaks in France in the past three decades involving helicopters , prompted a heated debate about whether the country’ s prisons are secure enough.


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