Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis): imprisonment of an anarchist accused of arson
An Italian man in his forties was arrested by police officers from the Sub-Directorate of the Anti-Terrorist Section (SDAT) of the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) last Friday night [June 11] when he set fire to the vehicle registered to the Guatemalan ambassador’s diplomatic service in the 17th district of Paris.
The arsonist, dressed in black to blend in with the night, was arrested at 3:25 a.m. in Val-d’Oise when he had just packed his bicycle inside his car to return home. A pattern repeated dozens of times, always on weekends and often on Saturday nights. To avoid detection, the Italian resident, very careful and discreet, always acted alone, left his cell phones on at home, used protective gloves and frequented streets that were not accessible by car and that avoided surveillance cameras. These are techniques to escape the police that are well known to the ultra-left, whose activists are often difficult to identify and arrest.
The militant would park his car in Argenteuil or in Seine-Saint-Denis before taking his bicycle out of the trunk and riding it to the streets of Paris’ upscale neighborhoods. His favorite hunting ground was the posh districts of the capital: the 8th, 16th and 17th. His targets were cars with diplomatic plates, but also cell phone or construction vehicles involved in the construction of prisons. “He could roam the streets for four hours to find his target, but he never took any risks, preferring to return empty-handed or sometimes put up stickers on the streets,” explains a source close to the investigation.
For four months now, the SDAT group specializing in extremist violence, known as infra-terrorism in police jargon, has been tracking the activist, who was also reportedly active in Italy.
In any case, the anti-terrorist police attribute to xxx about sixty arsons in the posh districts of Paris, which includes at least double that number of burned vehicles and damaged building facades due to the fire spreading. The investigators traced the activist through a classic work of the judicial police: phone tapping, stakeouts, tailing …
xxx was indicted on Monday 13 June by a judge of the Bobigny judicial court (Seine-Saint-Denis) for “damaging private property by dangerous means” and “endangering others” and imprisoned in the process. The Bobigny prosecutor’s office had opened a preliminary investigation four months earlier, last February. In police custody, the forty-year-old asserted his right to silence and refused to give his DNA. He is suspected of having claimed responsibility for his actions on the ultra-left propaganda website Attaque.noblog.org, of which he is also the administrator.
A man of the “ultra-left” movement imprisoned, suspected of having set fire to about sixty vehicles in the Île-de-France
A man was arrested on June 11, 2022 in Paris, suspected of having burned 58 vehicles since 2017, in Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis. He was remanded in custody earlier this week, according to the prosecutor’s office in Bobigny, and put under investigation for “destruction/degradation by a dangerous means and endangerment of others.”
According to information from franceinfo, the suspect, aged about 40 years, is considered by investigators as a figure of the ultra-left, more precisely of the anarcho-autonomous movement. He claimed responsibility for the fires on a website of which he is the administrator. It is partly thanks to this site that the investigators were able to identify the 58 fires that they attribute to him. [According to a “source close to the case” who spoke to AFP, “more than 100 vehicles were destroyed in total” and “ten building facades burned” by the spread of the fires].
This man was acting alone and with premeditation. He was scouting the area, travelling to the scene by bicycle or scooter, at night and on weekends, and knew the locations of the video surveillance cameras. The vehicles affected belonged to private companies (Eiffage) or public companies (Enedis, RATP), or to telephone operators or the media. Diplomatic vehicles were also set on fire. They were located in Paris, mostly in the east and west of the capital, and in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Arrested red handed
The Bobigny prosecutor’s office opened an investigation on March 8, 2022, entrusted to the SDAT, the anti-terrorist sub-directorate, after the burning of two diplomatic vehicles on the night of March 4 to 5, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The suspect was finally arrested during police surveillance on the night of June 10-11 while setting fire to a diplomatic vehicle in the 17th arrondissement of the capital. The fire spread to seven other cars parked nearby.
During the search of his home in Oise, investigators discovered, among other things, a map of the location of the video surveillance cameras of the city of Paris. In his vehicle, a lighter, a police armband, paint bombs, a shocker (an electric impulse stick) and window-breaking hammers were seized.