Redoine Faid, France’s most notorious gangster, was captured in his home town, Creil, on Wednesday. The gangster’s arrest in the town just north of Paris was confirmed by Gerard Collomb, France’s outgoing interior minister, and was first reported by Reuters.
Faid escaped from prison in July, in a bold move that seemed straight out of Hollywood. Faid was already on Interpol’s most wanted list, and the dramatic getaway only increased his notoriety. Here’s how it happened.
Three heavily armed men created a distraction at the prison gates while another of Faid’s trusted men flew a helicopter right into the prison itself. A police official told the media that Faid’s men had used concrete cutters to break through the prison door and the gates. Two armed men then burst into the prison and freed Faid from the visitor’s room, where he was meeting with his brother. Faid escaped on the helicopter and is still at large. The helicopter was later found, burned out and abandoned, in the Gonesse area in the north of Paris.
Faid, who says that his criminal career was inspired by movies like Scarface, Heat, and Resevoir Dogs, has made dramatic prison breaks in the past. In 2013, In 2013, he took four prison guards hostage before using dynamite to blow his way out of jail and fleeing in a waiting getaway car.
In the late 1990s, under threat of serious jail time after a series of bank robberies and attacks on armored cars, Faid fled to Switzerland. From there, he went on to Israel, where he reportedly spent several years, disguised as an orthodox Jew. He learned to speak fluent Hebrew.
We don’t have any figures about Faid’s net worth. Because he was a gangster and a bank robber, who made so much of his money illegally, it’s very difficult to estimate how much money Faid actually has. But we do have an idea of how he has made money over the years of his dramatic career.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Faid Grew Up in a Housing Project Near Paris
Faid’s parents were Algerian immigrants of Kabyle origin. Faid and his siblings grew up in an “HLM,” or housing project, in the northern French city of Creil. Faid committed his first theft at age six, when he wheeled a shopping cart full of food out of a supermarket.
By age 12, he was reportedly dedicated to a life of crime. He became known as the “terreur de Creil,” the “terror of Creil,” for his daring as a car thief and his love of adrenaline. The local police said that Faid seemed to care more about the rush of adrenaline he got from stealing cars than he cared about what the proceeds from his theft could buy him.
2. Faid Started Robbing Armored Vehicles After He Watched the Movie “Heat”
In 1995, Faid saw the movie “Heat” and was inspired. The young man decided that he wanted to live his life just like the hero of Heat. He once told Michael Mann, the director of his favorite film, that if it weren’t for the movies, the world’s crime rate would be cut in half. In Faid’s case, Hollywood gave him the vision to dream big. He was no longer content with petty crimes and occasional car theft; instead, he wanted to live large, like a Hollywood gangster.
Faid said he saw Heat seven times at the movie theater and at least a hundred times on DVD. He said it gave him the courage to attack his first armored van.
3. Faid Robbed His First Bank at Age 18
In 1990, when Faid was 18, he carried out his first bank robbery. This was followed by a series of armed robberies and attacks on armored vehicles. In 1995, Faid held up the BNP of Creil, and took the bank director’s family hostage. In 1996, he robbed a computer company in Evry, and then a jeweler’s shop in Chantilly. And of course, he punctuated all these crimes with his “specialty,” robbing armored cars.
Gone were the days of petty crime and larceny. Nobody is certain just how much money Faid raked in over the years, but it’s clear that he was aiming high.
4. Faid’s Book Is Selling for 22 Euros on Amazon
Faid’s autobiography, Braqueur: Des cites au grand banditisme (Thief: from the housing projects to grand banditry) came out when Faid was just 37 years old. At the time, Faid said that he had put his criminal past behind him.
The book was co-authored by Jerome Pierrat. Pierrat is a journalist and criminologist. He has written about the history of organized crime in France, and also writes for a specialty magazine called Tatouage (Tattoos). His other works include “The Little Book of Knowledge: Tattoos.”
5. Faid’s Editor Said Faid Cared More About Glory Than Money
Faid’s editor, Pierre Fournaud, is one of the few people outside of the underworld who have had the chance to get to know Faid fairly well. The two men met a number of times while they were working together on Faid’s autobiography.
Fournaud concluded that Faid is not particularly concerned with money. Instead, Fournaud says, Faid cares more than anything about “recognition.”