Cigarettes have become popular with thieves since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic and the closing of the borders. Five men aged twenty and thirty tried to take advantage of it Thursday, by robbing the depot of the Logista company in Ludres, near Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle), from which depart all the cartons of cigarettes responsible for supplying tobacconists in northeastern France. But the flight was short for these five men from Seine-Saint-Denis who had traveled more than 350 km to take action.
Around 11 p.m., two vehicles arrive at the entrance to the Logista warehouse. Five men get out and a Kalashnikov type long gun is pointed at the sentry box, which must open the doors. The criminals rush inside to load the cartons of cigarettes. They do not know that the police and the gendarmerie have just been alerted by a company alarm. The police quickly set up a device to arrest them in the act. When the robbers are trying to escape without having had time to load their cars, a crew from the Anti-Crime Brigade (IBC) manages to stop a vehicle and stop the two men on board. The second car of the robbers manages to flee.
A chase begins with a vehicle from the BAC and gendarmes. After 60 km of high-speed escape, the three other robbers hit a sidewalk and punctured the tires of their car. They are arrested in stride. In the vehicle, the police found ... a fake Kalashnikov. Placed in police custody - it can last up to 96 hours - the five suspects are now in the hands of investigators from the Nancy judicial police and gendarmes from the Central Office for the fight against itinerant delinquency, responsible for prosecuting investigations.
Investigators will in particular seek to know if the suspects, mainly known to the justice system for many crimes, were their first attempt. "Inevitably, the interest in cigarettes is important among criminals because the parallel sales networks are dry, blows a source close to the investigation. On a robbery like this, they could have left with 500 cartridges. Even sold at a third of the price, it still makes a huge gain. On May 12, a delivery truck from the Logista warehouse was robbed on the highway by an armed commando.