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CRIME

DNA tests to find ‘serial arsonist’ in Breton village

The residents of a sleepy Breton village may not have to wait much longer to know the identity of a serial arsonist, who has terrorized them by burning down eight buildings in just over a year. Police are to take DNA samples from local men in the hope they might help snare the culprit.

DNA tests to find 'serial arsonist' in Breton village
The port at Larmor-Baden in Brittany. Photo: Damien Boilley

The quaint seaside town of Larmor-Baden in Brittany has had no less than eight dwellings burnt to cinders over the last 12 months, including one which destroyed the local priest’s home in December.

Police believe a serial arsonist is at large but so far have failed to track him or her down. The village tormentor has destroyed holiday homes and a brasserie in recent months, among other targets, but so far the fires have not led to any fatalities.

On Wednesday, the public prosecutor for the region, Thierry Phelippeau, announced that saliva samples were to be taken from every local man between the ages of 15 and 75, to try and track down the fire-starter.

“The main theory is that this is a male resident of the town,” Phelippeau said on TF1 television.  Investigators did manage to take a DNA sample from one of the burned-out buildings and no want to see if a match can be found among the 400 strong male population of the town. "The samples will be destroyed after they are checked," the prosecutor added.

“We feel the culprit is getting bolder in his choice of targets and I’m afraid that if these fires start up again, there will be a real risk to lives,” said Phelippeau.

According to Phelippeau, the collection of male DNA samples will take between two and three weeks, but nobody will be forced to submit to the testing.

However, he added, “in the case of a refusal, that person will be of interest to investigators.”

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CRIME

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.

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