Notorious criminal escapes prison in hijacked chopper

The helicopter was found burned later Sunday, in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, located in the northern suburbs of Paris about 37 miles from the prison.

The helicopter, whose pilot may have been taken hostage, was found burnt out north of Paris. Faid's brother has been taken into custody for questioning.

Redoine Faid was serving 25 years for involvement in a failed robbery and murder of a police officer in a prison near Paris.

A third man in the prison courtyard, as reported, guarded the helicopter and its pilot, a flying instructor whom the men had hijacked in a nearby airfield and forced him to take part in the dramatic escape.

Faid, 46, was reportedly assisted by at least three armed accomplices who picked him up by helicopter from the Reau prison courtyard, in the southeatern suburbs of Paris, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

The criminal careerist was serving a 25-year sentence for an armed robbery that led to the death of a policewoman in 2010 at the time of his escape. He has said his life of crime was inspired by movies such as "Scarface" and "Heat".

"It was an extremely well-prepared commando unit that may have used drones to survey the area beforehand", she said, according to the BBC.

Belloubet said police had launched a manhunt and described Faid as unsafe.




According to the sources, three armed gunmen arrived at the entrance of the prison demanding Faid's release to create a diversion. In 2013, he blasted his way out of prison with explosives concealed in tissue packs before he was arrested at a hotel six weeks later.

The justice minister said the escape took only "a few minutes" and that no one was injured.

The helicopter, the pilot of which was later released, was found burnt out north of Paris, as was a getaway vehicle.

French outlet BFMTV reports that the men, hooded and dressed in black, burst into the room at around 11:20 local time (09:20 GMT) on Sunday, demanding Faid's release.

Faid grew up in the French capital's tough immigrant suburbs.

In the 1990s, Faid led a criminal gang involved in armed robbery of banks and armoured vans transporting money.

Faid, a notorious career thief, once managed to talk his way out of a 10-year sentence by convincing parole officials he was a changed man who regretted his past actions.

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