This wild story was first detailed by Stephane Pair, a radio reporter with France Info. From there, it was translated into English by The Local and has been picked up by the New York Daily News‘ David Harding.
However, for those who read French, the article de grace is without a doubt an earlier January 23 item in regional newspaper La Nouvelle Republique. You see, that’s the paper that the following unnamed criminal used to write for; and the report about his arrest for a series of armed robberies was written by the journalist who succeeded him. From the translated The Local write-up:
The 63-year-old former hack for French regional newspaper La Nouvelle Republique allegedly donned a wig, fake mustache, gloves and a hefty ‘Clint Eastwood’ revolver and began holding up stores in the [Bois] area.
He is believed to have hit five shops since September 2013, gathering about 9,000 Euros in cash, up until last week. His Modus Operendi was usually the same each time. He’d wait until closing time and then force the workers at gunpoint to turn over the day’s takings or the contents of the safe.
The arrested former crime reporter evidently failed to learn a critical, other bit of M.O. from his days on the beat. He reportedly deposited the takes from these robberies into his personal bank account, in a manner that perfectly coincided – when examined by the authorities – with the chronology of the various crimes!
There’s not usually much or anything in Style Guides regarding writing about the arrest of a former employee. But surely La Nouvelle Republique reporter Olivier Brosset should have found room somewhere to mention that the arrested individual used to work at the same paper, covering his beat. Perhaps his editors instructed him not to mention it. In the other related reports, the paper is refusing to comment about all this.
And as side note to The Local: way to kick a man when he’s down by referring to him as a “hack.”