French robber Redoine Faïd 'breaks free from jail' in dramatic helicopter escape

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Redoine Faid was being visited by his brother in Reau prison in the Paris region when the men burst into the room yesterday morning and extracted him.

It is not the first time that Faid, 46, has escaped.

This is the second time Faid has broken out of prison.

Faid, who has said he was inspired by U.S. films such as "Scarface" and "Heat", was serving 25 years in Réau prison for his part in a botched 2010 cash-transport van robbery that he masterminded.

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In his 2013 jailbreak, he briefly took four guards hostage with a pistol before escaping in a waiting getaway vehicle.

The aircraft was then set alight, but was only partly damaged and the fire was extinguished when police found it a short time later. Faid and his accomplices are believed to have ditched the airplane and escaped by vehicle. "It was an extremely well-prepared commando unit that may have used drones to survey the area beforehand", she told reporters.

Afterward, three armed men created a diversion at the prison entrance as the hijacked helicopter touched down in the courtyard, according to the news site.

Faid has a violent criminal record dating to at least the 1990s, when he organized the robberies of banks, shops and armored vehicles. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to French media reports.

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"Redoine Faid is someone who has freedom in his DNA".

His fame has increased since then following appearances in several television shows and authoring books recounting his past and rise as a criminal in Paris' tough suburbs.

Faid was freed in 2009 after serving 10 years in prison. He was recaptured six weeks later at a hotel in suburban Paris - but not before he briefly claimed the title of France's "public enemy number one", the Independent reported. One of his prison supervisors said that Faid had never had any conflict with staff, "but we must always be wary". "Behind all his manners - he is very polite - he always hid his game", the supervisor said.

There was no netting over the part of the prison where the helicopter landed because inmates only spend time there when they're getting ready to leave, officials have said.

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