• 60'
  • Author : Carole Réguillon
  • 18-10-2020
  • Master : 2985


A burglary ever 90 seconds. In France, that is the pace of these growing attacks. Half a million people fall victim every year. The value of the thefts is not necessarily high, but intrusion is always traumatic. Over recent years a novel operational method has emerged: “home-jacking”. The criminals break into dwellings, often armed, in the presence of the residents. In 2019, four thousand “home-jackings” were registered, a figure that has doubled in 10 years. We followed victims of these extreme attacks and the forces of law-and-order that investigate in search of the crooks. Difficult enquiries: only 20% of cases are solved. When Marie, 76, a pensioner, thinks back to the attack she suffered at home nearly one year ago, she is still traumatized and bursts into tears: “The burglars shoved a gun between my eyes, I thought I was going to die!”. The two hooded men stole her computer and some jewelry. However, today, she has been invited to the Frejus police station. Using DNA, a suspect has been identified and Sebastien, investigating officer in the city police station, is about to arrest him. We follow the operation, which promises to be delicate, because the man could well be dangerous… In Mulhouse, a series of burglaries has struck the city. Within a few weeks, one hundred and sixty basements have been robbed. Mathieu, sergeant in the city “Anti-burglary division”, admits that such a series is “huge”. Examination of security cameras, phone taps, tails… gradually he is bringing to light an entire¾highly organized¾network of criminals. To break this network, he needs to carry out a massive dragnet operation, with several simultaneous interventions, witnessed by our cameras. He’s hoping to arrest the foot soldiers of the trade and their fences and recover the stolen goods: “We’re working for the victims,” he explains. “so returning their possessions is the best moment of the whole process!”. Didier and Blandine Loup are at the end of their tether. Caravan dealers in the Tarn, they spend their nights watching their store on security monitors set up in their home. Having already been burgled five times in four years, they have suffered €60,000 in damage and €12,000 in outright losses.  During the last break-in, Didier tried to intervene, but was hammered with blows by the thieves. Sick leave, depression, his turnover is now cut to a tenth. His bank has dropped him, so has his insurer. His business is now in administration. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through,” he sighs. Another trader, Pascal Rauber, cracked. He’s been selling motorbikes in the Orne for 30 years and has already suffered… fifty-two attempted robberies! The last time was in June 2016. The store’s alarm bell goes off in the middle of the night. He takes his shot gun and goes to his store. He fires at one of the thieves and hits him in the head. Pascal is  charged with armed assault. “It was legitimate self-defense”, he protests, but, one year later, he is found guilty by the court in Alencon and sentenced to five years, suspended, and ordered to pay twelve thousand Euros in damages… to the burglars! Even though he admits the seriousness of his action, he considers the punishment to be unfair. In the four corners of France, we plunge into the heart of a scourge that is undermining the morale of citizens and feeding the population’s sense of insecurity. 

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