Public in Dordogne warned after fake French gendarmes rob residents

Criminals dressed in gendarme uniforms have been robbing people's houses in the Dordogne, southwest France. The authorities have urged members of the public to be cautious. Here's what you need to know.

Criminals have been usurping the identity of gendarmes
Criminals have been usurping the identity of gendarmes in the Dordogne, southwest France (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

A group of fake gendarmes in the Dordogne département have been robbing residents. 

Their modus operandi is as follows: they arrive at the front door dressed in official gendarme uniforms and ask to see where the household valuables are stashed. They then grab the goods and rush away. 

It is hardly like a sophisticated scene from Lupin but a number of people have understandably fallen victim to the crime, swayed by the uniform.

The Gendarmerie de la Dordogne have urged caution and recommend the following steps to avoid being robbed in such circumstances:

  • Never let any unknown individual enter your home
  • Install a peep-hole in your door or install a chain lock
  • Ask to see the professional ID card of the officer or a mission letter. 

They have posted an example ID card on their Facebook page. 

A French Gendarme's professional ID card

This is what a French Gendarme’s ID card looks like. (Source: Gendarmerie de la Dordogne)

The card should also show the face of the officer – in the space covered by the thumb in the picture above. 

If you are still in doubt, you can ring the number 17 from any mobile phone in France to verify that an officer has indeed been sent to you address. 

A gendarme will not ask to enter your home except in the case that they are carrying a warrant or acting as part of an enquête judiciaire – you have the right to be informed if such an investigation has been launched against you. 

Outside of these cases, the gendarme should be able to ask you for any necessary information at the door. 

The recent spate of thefts committed by people pretending to be gendarmes is nothing new in France. 

In 2019, the Gendarmerie of Nièvre in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region arrested someone accused of impersonating a gendarme and found in possession of official clothing. 

The Gendarmerie Nationale is technically part of the French armed forces, but carries out considerable domestic law enforcement alongside the Police Nationale. 

Those currently robbing people in the Dordogne are taking significant risks. Impersonating a law enforcement officer in France can result in a three year prison sentence and €45,000 fine. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


France charges teen over ‘imminent terror attack’ plot

French authorities have charged an 18-year-old man on suspicion of planning an imminent terror attack with a knife in the name of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

France charges teen over 'imminent terror attack' plot

Initial investigations indicated that he planned to carry out a terror attack “in the name of IS, to which he had pledged allegiance,” said the source, who asked not to be named, adding that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The source added that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The man, from a Muslim family, had adopted extremist views and was considered a threat, sparking France’s anti-terror prosecutors office (PNAT) to open an investigation on May 19, a source close to the case said.

Police arrested him on Friday and a video of him swearing allegiance to IS was found in his possession.

The source did not say whom he was planning to target in the attack or in which location.

France saw a wave of jihadist attacks from 2015 that left hundreds dead and pushed the country to its highest level of security alert.

There has been no repeat of a mass atrocity in the last years, but there have been several deadly attacks carried out by lone individuals

More to follow