French police ‘spot fugitive gangster in car with explosives’

A French gangster on the run for weeks after a dramatic helicopter jailbreak narrowly avoided getting caught by a police patrol and had to abandon a car containing explosives, officials said Wednesday.

French police 'spot fugitive gangster in car with explosives'
Photo: Screengrab LCI
Officers identified Redoine Faid as one of two people who sped away when police tried to carry out a security check on their car north of Paris on Tuesday, a source said.
It was the first sighting of Faid, nicknamed the “Jailbird King” by French media, since he broke out of prison on July 1, whisked away by accomplices in a hijacked helicopter.
Officers on Tuesday “wanted to carry out a check on the people in the car, who were observing a service station,” a police source told AFP.

Prison break: French pilot of hijacked helicopter speaks of terrifying ordealFrench helicopter Alouette II abandoned by French armed robber Redoine Faid after his escape from prison in Reau. Photo: AFP

“They fled the scene and drove towards Sarcelles,” where they abandoned the vehicle in an underground car park at a shopping centre. 

Police found six packages of plastic explosives and fake licence plates in the boot of the car, a police source said.
“We do not yet know where the explosives were being taken,” a senior prosecutor for the Pontoise region told AFP.
Authorities sealed off the shopping centre while bomb disposal experts dealt with the explosives.
Faid has been quoted as saying he found his “calling” at the age of 12. The journalist Jerome Pierrat, co-author of a book on Faid, has described him as a “charmer”.

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French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.