Fake police rob travellers

Officers step up patrols after increase in autoroute robbers using blue flashing light

20 August 2012

POLICE and gendarmes have stepped up controls and surveillance on autoroutes after an increase in reports of fake police robbing travellers.

Last week a couple driving on the A31 near Longvic (Côte-d'Or) were pulled over by a dark Peugeot 206 with a blue flashing light on the roof at 2.00 in the morning. The two fake police - both of African origin with one wearing what looked like a police jacket - searched the driver and took €3,200 from his wife's handbag.

Earlier that night, what seemed like the same two men had stopped two German tourists between Langres and Dijon under the pretext of a cocaine drug search. They stole valuables from the car as well as their wallets.

The Interior Ministry has called on police to increase patrols and get more information on the thieves. So far they are investigating around 100 robberies or attempted robberies.

Ten people suspected of being involved in a network of fake police in the south of France were arrested in June. But the attacks continued and two drivers were robbed in an aire (rest area) on the A7 and Russian tourists lost €4,000 when attacked on the A6.

Other attempts have been reported in Bourgogne, Vaucluse, Drôme, Var, Gard and Bouches-du-Rhône departments.

In the Paris area, on the A6 near Ivry, a motorcyclist was punched in the face and had his bike stolen by three men wearing police armbands who had flagged him down in a car with a blue flashing light.

Police sources told Le Figaro the majority of the robbery attempts had forced drivers to stop on the hard shoulder but police preferred to get drivers to pull into aires as there was less risk of accident. They added that it was permitted to ask police to show their identity cards.
Photo: Fred - Fotolia.com

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