Gangster Redoine Faid staged spectacular jailbreak from prison in Reau in July
He broke out of the penitentiary with the help of two accomplices in minutes
They used smoke bombs and angle grinders before fleeing in hijacked chopper
French police have recaptured 46-year-old after a raid in Creil, northern France
Published: 03:16 EDT, 3 October 2018 | Updated: 07:11 EDT, 3 October 2018
A gangster who went on the run following a spectacular prison escape over the summer has been recaptured in France.
Redoine Faid, whom police had tracked since early July, after armed gunmen sprung him from jail to escape in a helicopter, was arrested in the town of Creil, north of Paris.
His brother Rachid and two other family members were also detained, a police source said.
Faid, who once said his life was inspired by films like 'Scarface', was serving a 25-year sentence at a prison south of the French capital for an armed robbery that went wrong and led to the death of a policewoman in 2010.
In July, dramatic footage emerged of the moment he pulled off a brazen jailbreak by fleeing from a prison near Paris in a hijacked helicopter.
A gangster who went on the run following a spectacular prison escape over the summer has been recaptured in France. Pictured is the building in Creil, northern France, where the police raid took place
Pictures show the interior of the flat where fugitive Redoine Faid was arrested in Creil, in the department of Oise, northern France
Faid (pictured), who once said his life was inspired by films like 'Scarface', was serving a 25-year sentence at a prison south of the French capital for an armed robbery that went wrong and led to the death of a policewoman in 2010
Faid went on the run following a spectacular prison escape (pictured) over the summer involving a hijacked helicopter
The 46-year-old who was once France's most wanted man broke out of the penitentiary in Reau in the capital's southeastern suburbs, with the help of two accomplices in an operation lasting just ten minutes.
They used smoke bombs and angle grinders to overcome wardens in the facility's visiting room where Faid was talking to a brother.
In video captured inside the jail, inmates could be heard cheering as guards sprinted through the prison grounds and a helicopter hovered overhead.
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A huge manhunt, involving nearly 3,000 police officers was launched across France. French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said the commandos most likely 'used drones to survey the location' beforehand.
It was the second time Faid had pulled off a spectacular jailbreak - in 2013, he blasted his way out of a prison in northern France using dynamite. He was recaptured six weeks later.
Photos show a bedroom inside the apartment where fugitive Faid was recaptured by French police
The 46-year-old who was once France 's most wanted man broke out of the penitentiary in Reau in the capital's southeastern suburbs, with the help of two accomplices in an operation lasting just ten minutes. Pictures show the interior of the flat where he was recaptured
Redoine Faid, whom police had tracked since early July, after armed gunmen sprung him from jail (pictured) to escape in a helicopter, was arrested in the town of Creil, north of Paris
A huge manhunt was launched after Faid's July escape. Pictures show the helicopter said to have been used in the escape after it was abandoned
Police are pictured investigating a car abandoned by French armed robber Redoine Faid at O'Parinor shopping mall in Aulnay-sous-Bois, north of Paris in July
The helicopter - hijacked from a terrified flight instructor - landed in the prison yard.
Guards did not open fire, fearing the aircraft would crash into prison buildings and because of the civilian pilot.
The two black-clad men armed with assault rifles set off smoke bombs before breaking their way into the prison's visitation room using power tools.
At the time, sources said there were three accomplices. The wardens, who were unarmed, fled to safety and raised the alarm.
The accomplices went into the visitation room, reportedly armed with Kalashnikov rifles, and demanded Faid's release, BFM-TV reported.
A union representative told local media that the men were 'dressed in black and hooded' while wearing police armbands.
The helicopter was later found in Garges-lès-Gonesse, a northeastern suburb of Paris about 37 miles from the prison.
Armed police stand by as investigators transport an Alouette II helicopter allegedly abandoned by French prisoner Redoine Faid to pull off a brazen prison break in July
A car abandoned by Faid is seen at O'Parinor shopping mall parking after his escape onboard a helicopter from a prison in Reau
A police source said the helicopter pilot was a flight instructor waiting for a student when he was seized by Faid's accomplices. He was forced to fly before being later freed in a state of shock.
The men apparently went on to use a car that was later found torched in a shopping mall carpark, police said.
At the time, detectives feared Faid may attempt to disguise himself as an Orthodox Jew and head to Israel where he had often expressed his wish to settle.
He speaks Hebrew and – in an autobiography published in 2010 – told how disguising himself as an 'ultra-Orthodox Jew' was a perfect way of evading police.
Three armed and well-trained men reportedly presented themselves at the prison (pictured in a file image) in July and demanded Faid's release
Faid said he had learnt firearms skills off an Israeli Defense Force soldier, and wanted to settle in the Middle East country.
It has become an increasingly popular destination for French criminals running away from justice and – following an escape in 2013 – Interpol was alerted that Faid was trying to get hold of forged documents to get him to Tel Aviv.
The escape came after an appeals court in April sentenced Faid to 25 years for masterminding a botched armed robbery in 2010 in which a policewoman was killed.
Faid had 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.
In his 2013 jailbreak, he briefly took four guards hostage with a pistol before escaping in a waiting getaway car. All the hostages were released unharmed.
Faid was recaptured six weeks later at a hotel in an industrial area on the outskirts of Paris.
A woman working at the hotel told AFP at the time that Faid's accomplice had paid for the room in cash and that the two men had been there for several days.
Faid had earlier been released from a 10-year stint behind bars after convincing parole officers that he regretted his criminal past and was determined to start afresh.
Police nicknamed him 'The Author' for two books he co-wrote about his delinquent youth.
The aircraft landed in Garges-lès-Gonesse, about 37 miles from the prison. Pictured: The aircraft in a field after the escape
It is the second time Faid has pulled off a spectacular jailbreak - in 2013, he blasted his way out of a prison (pictured at the time) in northern France using dynamite before being recaptured six weeks later
Faid, who has a cult following in the tough immigrant suburbs outside Paris where he grew up, has made several television appearances.
At a Paris film festival in April 2009, Faid approached Michael Mann, director of the 1995 gangster film 'Heat' starring Al Pacino and Robert Niro, telling him: 'You were my technical adviser.'
He wrote that he had watched the film dozens of times to perfect his bank-robbing prowess.
One of his prison supervisors said that Faid had never had any conflict with staff, 'but we must always be wary'.
'In the corner of his mind, he never lost the idea of escaping. Behind all his manners - he is very polite - he always hid his game,' the supervisor said.
Delabroye, the prison union rep, said the yard where the helicopter landed is the only area not equipped with anti-aircraft netting because inmates never use it - 'except to leave the prison'.
This file photo taken on April 15, 2013 in Paris shows a reproduction of the Interpol website shows the international wanted person notice for French robber Redoine Faid