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75-year old grandfather mounts mini crime wave

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16:13 CEST+02:00

A former butcher with no previous criminal record has shocked locals with a series of hold-ups near the small town of Roquemaure in southern France.


The man held up a grocery store, a service station and a café, each time only netting a few hundred euros. 


A court in Nîmes was told that the man had recently gone through a period of hardship, including the death of his daughter and the illness of his wife. He cited money difficulties as the reason for his actions.


Known only as Claude, the man's approach would be to arrive on his bicycle, armed with an alarm gun and teargas. He would hand his victim a note saying "this is an armed robbery. I have terminal pancreatic cancer." He told the court that he actually suffered from arthritis.


The magistrate said that crimes by older people were becoming more common as financial problems hit retirees harder. However, he said, "this was not a simple case of shoplifting".


The 75-year old had hoped to be released but was ordered to stay in detention.


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