Infamous French Criminal Escapes Prison In A Helicopter

The helicopter was found abandoned and torched in Garges-les-Gonesse, a town in the suburbs north of Paris.

A union representative at Reau told BFM television that "two men dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and police armbands" entered the prison to look for Faid and used a grinding machine to cut open the door that directly leads to the visiting room. Faid and his accomplices escaped from the prison courtyard - which was not protected by a net - without injuring anyone Gunmen took the prisoner from the visitors' room before fleeing by air, according to security sources cited by Reuters.

Three armed accomplices were involved in the escape and hacked through a lock that gave them access to a hallway where Fair was waiting with his brothers, Agence France-Presse reported, citing sources close to the case.

The prison courtyard it landed in was the only one not fitted with anti-helicopter nets as it is used by inmates exclusively when they are being admitted to or released from the jail. Faid and his accomplices are believed to have ditched the airplane and escaped by auto.

When the chopper arrived, Faid was meeting with his brother in the visiting room. He escaped once before, from the Sequedin prison in 2013, using explosives to bust out of prison with the assistance after taking four guards hostage.

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Faid has been behind bars since mid-2011 for breaking the terms of his parole over past convictions for bank robberies and brazen heists of cash-in-transit vehicles.

He was captured on May 29, 2013 when authorities found him hiding out at a hotel in Pontault-Combault, east of Paris. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to the French media.

In 2009, Faid wrote a book titled "Robber: Cities of Organized Crime", in which he explored his childhood growing up in Paris' marginalised neighbourhoods, or banlieues.

He said his life of crime was inspired by American films such as Scarface and Heat. In 2001, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for armed robbery.

Still, he was the suspected mastermind of an attempted armed robbery in 2010 that led to a high-speed chase and a shootout with police in which 26-year-old policewoman Aurelie Fouquet was killed.

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