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.
French 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”.