A former crime reporter for a newspaper in France was this week caught in the act of armed robbery and was arrested. It seems he learned his trade from his previous work. The one remaining problem is that now the person who took over his job, will have to report on his crimes.
It happened in the central French city of Blois. The former crime reporter, named only as Jean-Michel, was broke. He’s retired and had just gone through a nasty and expensive divorce. His son’s schooling was racking up the bills and he was the one who had to pay them. He was getting desperate as his money problems just continued to spiral out of control.
This was when the 62-year-old former crime reporter for the French regional newspaper, Nouvelle Republique, decided to do what he had reported on best. A bit of crime. Wearing a wig and a fake mustache, he put on a pair of gloves, produced a revolver and started holding up stores in the area.
Police reckon he had robbed around five shops since September 2013 and had accumulated around 9,000 euros in cash from his dirty deeds.
Reportedly he used the same modus operandi pretty much every time. He would wait until closing time, enter the shop, gun raised, and demand that the workers turn over the day’s takings. Occasionally he would simply ask for the contents of the safe.
Turns out that using that same modus operandi was pretty much what got him nabbed. This was on Monday, when he performed his sixth, and hopefully final, hold up. He walked out of the store, wearing his normal disguise and got arrested on the spot. Turns out the local detectives knew the crime reporter well from the old days when he worked the crime beat. They had had their suspicions and decided to keep a watchful eye on him, for weeks. And it paid off.
Ironically, for years, the journalist had written stories about careless criminals in France. You know, the types that would leave their driver’s license at the scene of a crime, or while fleeing the scene would crash into the police cars that were chasing them. The fact that he had written about such things didn’t deter the journalist from making his own mistakes, however.
Once the man had been identified as a possible suspect in the robberies, the police decided to check his bank records. It turns out that at around the same time as the robberies occurred, up went his bank balance. It was not exactly rocket science to realize what was going on, as he had been depositing his hard-earned illegal loot into his own personal account just after each crime was committed.
It is such a shame that the reporter who took his place at Nouvelle Republique will now have to write about his predecessor. Funny thing, though, the newspaper didn’t mention that the robber used to work for them in their report, and the paper, not really surprisingly, refused to comment on the arrest. One thing is for sure, the new crime reporter will think twice about committing any crimes or being arrested for armed robbery in France.
By Anne Sewell
France Info radio (French)
Nouvelle Republique (French)