His prison escapes were audacious and cinematic—meaning they went according to plan. In a lengthy piece for GQ, Adam Leith Gollner dives into the exploits of Redoine Faid, who answered his questions from prison via an intermediary and also supplied Gollner with an unpublished autobiography. Faid has managed two wild escapes from prison, but as Gollner details, he evaded police in an equally wild way when they came to arrest him in January 2011. A police officer had been shot dead the prior May in a car chase, and law enforcement had determined Faid was involved. He was certain he was being surveilled, so he was very particular about going to and from work at the exact same time each day. "He wanted the police to feel confident that he would be home in those early hours," writes Gollner.
He suspected that if and when they came to arrest him they would take the stairs, and so Faid started waking each day at 4am to listen for their footsteps. "It was a crazy tactic, but it paid off." On Jan. 11, just before 6am, he heard "quiet and muffled" sounds—and managed to escape through the roof and into a neighboring building via a skylight, where he hid in a storage space he had previously identified until a getaway driver could get to him. He was ultimately arrested and escaped in 2013 by blowing his way out of prison. His 2018 escape involved a helicopter, and Gollner details just how well thought out the plan was: the Reau prison's airspace is largely "crisscrossed with Kevlar cables to prevent aerial raids—except, it turns out, for the entry's small three-sided courtyard." It was a space so small none of today's helicopter's could fit in it—so his accomplices tracked down a pilot who few a 1960s model that just fit. (Read the incredible full story, which delves into Faid's obsession with the crime films of Michael Mann and other directors.)