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The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Jailbreak Artist

By Adam Leith Gollner, GQ

Master criminal Rédoine Faïd loved the movies, and his greatest crimes were laced with tributes: to Point Break, Heat, and Reservoir Dogs. When he landed in a maximum-security prison, cinema provided inspiration once again.

Through the bars of his prison window Rédoine Faïd can see far off into the cloudless sky. It’s early on a sunny Sunday in July 2018, and for now, the morning is quiet and ordinary at the Réau penitentiary, 25 miles southeast of Paris. But Faïd can envision what’s coming—he can see it all unfold like the movie he’s been scripting for months in his mind.

Outside his cell, two guards approach. These are the solitary confinement quarters: a controlled unit within the maximum-security prison where notable or potentially dangerous criminals are held. Few prisoners in France are as notable as the 46-year-old Faïd, who officially ranks among the country’s highest-risk inmates. A notorious thief—the architect of a flurry of dazzling heists and blockbuster robberies in the 1990s that targeted banks, jewelry stores, and armored cars—Faïd became more infamous still in 2013, when he blasted out of the Sequedin prison, near Lille, where he’d been serving time after a botched robbery, using smuggled explosives. That dramatic escape embarrassed the top echelons of the French justice system, and since Faïd’s recapture six weeks later, he’s been under stringent restrictions.

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