From Lady Di to Picasso, Abdelatif Redjil, nicknamed the “locksmith” or the “man with the golden fingers” is tried in the Judicial Court of Nanterre for having committed 24 burglaries in 5 months in 2021. Portrait of a repeat offender, as money, with an unusual route.
Of the five defendants, he is the only one to appear detained. In the box, at 67, the man looks more like a peaceful retiree than a multi-recidivist thug, ace of burglary. Little gray beard, round glasses perched on the tip of his nose, Abdelhatif Redjil, Zouz for those close to you, listen to the debates with the detached air of one accustomed to the exercise. Profession: professional breaker.
His criminal record makes him one of the most brilliant burglars of his generation. His signature: no trace, no breakage, no noise. Hence his nicknames, “the locksmith”, or “the man with the golden fingers”
Yet it is not only his tact that puts him in the light but an improbable meeting.
On the night of August 30 to 31, 1997, Abdelhatif Redjil was near the Alma bridge in Paris. At the same time, the car carrying Princess Diana crashes into a pole. According to him, the man approaches the princess, takes her hand and tries to reassure her. His words, our good Samaritan will reiterate them before the High Court of Justice in London in 1997, adding that the princess repeated “My God, my god“.
Ten years later, and the case caused a stir: two paintings by Pablo Picasso were stolen from the Parisian apartment of the painter’s granddaughter. On the night of February 26, 2007, criminals broke into the deserted apartment. No break-ins, no fingerprints, amount of the loot: 50 million euros. A clean theft, without blunders which will be worth five years in prison, including two years suspended for Abdelhatif Redjil.
In total, the sexagenarian will have spent 20 years behind bars for his multiple thefts: “Mour course is execrable, I only had a delinquent life, I made burglaries because I liked to steal“, declares the defendant to the president of the 16th chamber of the Correctional Court of Nanterre.
It is a bit by chance that the police put a name behind a series of burglaries that took place in the region in 2021. Between June and October 2021, no less than 24 burglaries were committed in apartments in Hauts-de-Seine and of the Yvelines. Their common point? It is the housing lock that is targeted and the breakages all take place while the occupants are on vacation. On June 24, during a banal traffic check, the police caught the thief not red-handed but in the trunk… of his car! False identity cards, hairpieces, high-precision break-in equipment. In short, the perfect equipment for the burglar.
Nothing can resist Mr. RedjilLawyer for civil parties
“Nothing can resist Mr. Redjil“, proclaims a lawyer for the civil parties, “including this Heracles lock, my clients couldn’t believe their eyes.“If Heracles was a demi-god, the lock, so named because deemed inviolable, did not resist the know-how of the”man with golden fingers“.
Patient and meticulous, the defendant explains: “It’s not the number of points that counts, it’s the lock“, and it develops “the piston was mismatched“. The burglar says he has developed “a forcer“. “What is this object?asks the president.It’s a key blank that you have to file where you need to “. The court will not know more, trade secret!
In five months, Abdelatif Redgil will thus multiply the money with a ” profit of 60,000 to 80,000 euros“, he believes in the box. The modus operandi is well established: identification of apartments left empty during the holiday period, targeting of locks, an accomplice rings the doorbell. “If there’s no one, he phones me and comes down to watch“, specifies the defendant “et me I go up“.
“32 years in prison pronounced which were for nothing”Maître Olivier Ducombs, defense lawyer
Described as ” the pivot of these flights“by the prosecutor, the”locksmith“is a repeat offender.”What to do to make you decide to stop this activity ? “, asks the prosecution.”I have a very strong concern about the recidivism“, he points out. And to emphasize that the defendant demonstrates a “aspect of predation and appropriation of the work of the other“. He requires 5 years in prison with continued detention.
A recurrence paradoxically taken up in the defense argument. “We have this gear that if we don’t stop it, it continues“, declares his lawyer Maître Olivier Ducombs “He told you about this inglorious past, it’s more than 32 years in prison that were pronounced for nothing“. Incarcerated in the remand center of Osny, Abdelatif Redjil “is not a boss “says his counsel,”he hugs the walls, doesn’t go for a walk“.
Judged alongside four other defendants including his wife, and one of his brothers, the sexagenarian expressed his “regrets” vis-à-vis the victims of his thefts.
This Wednesday evening, the court followed the requisitions of the prosecution and sentenced Abdelatif Redjil to 5 years in prison with continued detention.
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