Frenchman held in US for impersonating pilot

A Frenchman wearing a uniform and claiming to be an Air France pilot was arrested on board a plane in the US city of Philadelphia after being found sitting in the cockpit, police said on Friday.

Frenchman held in US for impersonating pilot
File photo of a US Airways plane: cliff1066/Flickr

The individual, identified as Philippe Jeannard of La Rochelle, France, was a ticketed passenger for the US Airways flight to West Palm Beach, Florida, according to a police statement that spelled his name two different ways.

Jeannard, in his 60s, was found sitting in the jump-seat behind the captain's chair and claimed to be a 747 pilot for Air France.

"When (Jeannard) could not produce proper credentials he was removed from the flight and the police were notified," the Philadelphia police said.

"When arrested, (Jeannard) was in possession of a counterfeit Air France Crew member identification card," it said in the statement.

He has been charged with criminal trespass, tampering with records, impersonating a privately employed person and presenting false identification to law enforcement.

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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.