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France’s most wanted caught outside Paris

A French bandit who blasted his way out of prison in April with explosives concealed in tissue packs has been arrested at a hotel six weeks after his escape. Police said Redoine Faid (pictured) was arrested overnight Tuesday with an accomplice.


French police captured the country's most-wanted man in a hotel outside Paris on Wednesday, six weeks after he dynamited his way out of prison in a spectacular jailbreak.

Redoine Faid, 41, a notorious career thief who had been serving time for robbery and was facing a possible new sentence in connection with the 2010 death of a policewoman, was arrested around 3am at a hotel in Pontault-Combault, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of central Paris.

Police said he was arrested with a 29-year-old accomplice and that weapons were seized at the scene, suggesting Faid may have been preparing another heist.

Faid has since been placed under formal investigation in Lille, in accordance with French law.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls hailed police for the "thorough and effective" investigation that led to his capture.

Faid used explosives to blast his way out of the Sequedin penitentiary during his April 13 jailbreak and, armed with a pistol, briefly took four guards hostage before escaping in a waiting getaway car. All the hostages were released unharmed.

The penitentiary was just 15 kilometres from the Belgian border, prompting France to request a Europe-wide arrest warrant as they thought he might have fled the country.

Valls told i-Télé that it appeared Faid had changed locations repeatedly during his time on the run and that he "benefited from the help of a certain number of accomplices".

A woman working at the hotel, in an industrial area on the outskirts of Paris, said Faid's accomplice had paid for the room in cash and that the two men had been there for several days.

Police raid at 3am

Clients at the hotel where he was captured reported hearing "a lot of noise" around 3am local time when police swooped in.

French officials had warned that Faid, who grew up in tough immigrant suburbs outside Paris, was considered armed and "especially dangerous". He had been in prison since mid-2011 for breaking the terms of his parole from past convictions for bank robberies and brazen heists of cash-in-transit vehicles.

He is also suspected of masterminding a May 2010 armed robbery that turned into a gunfight in which a policewoman, 26-year-old Aurelie Fouquet, was killed.

Faid had previously been released from a decade behind bars after convincing parole officials that he regretted his criminal past and was determined to start afresh.

He has in the past made several television appearances and co-authored two books about his delinquent youth and his rise as a criminal in the suburbs of Paris, saying his life of crime was inspired by American films such as "Scarface" and "Heat".

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

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