The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2022

Rio del Ognissanti, Venice (1882) The incensed Mesrine had other plans: he shot Tillier in the face, leg and arm. He went on to be expelled from other schools and fell into the lifestyle of a juvenile delinquent, much to the dismay of his family. By the end of 1972, Mesrine had returned to France, where he resumed robbing banks. 28 December 1936 – 2 November 1979) was a French criminal responsible for numerous murders, bank robberies, burglaries, and kidnappings in France, the US, and Canada. Mercier, a wanted murderer, and Mesrine then robbed a series of banks in Montreal, sometimes two in the same day. Mesrine was widely seen as an anti-establishment Robin Hood figure. Mesrine was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the bungled kidnapping; he escaped a few weeks later, but was rearrested the next day. Realizing they were not policemen, Mesrine submitted to a search of the car, but on finding loaded guns in the rear, the rangers informed them that they would have to follow their car back to Plessisville.

Mesrine and Jeanjacquot had reached Porte de Clignancourt on the outskirts of Paris, when the gold BMW they were driving was boxed in at the entrance to an intersection. Moreover, he was adept at disguising his appearance and allaying suspicion from members of the public: he reportedly went for a drink with his neighbours and laughed when one said he «looked like Mesrine». The following year, Mesrine robbed a fashion store in Paris. An aptitude for disguise earned him the moniker «The Man of a Thousand Faces» and enabled him to remain at large while receiving massive publicity as a wanted man. By remaining at large in the Paris area, despite his notoriety, Mesrine appeared to be making a fool of the law and the state; the Paris Match interview was the last straw. After being at large for four months, he was arrested in his new Paris apartment on September 28, 1973, on information supplied by an associate who wanted a reduced sentence. One theory is that Lebovici may have been killed by a close associate of Mesrine’s with whom Lebovici may have had an appointment on the day of his death.

Deeply resenting the way he had been treated in the prison, Mesrine and Mercier made an extremely risky attempt to precipitate a mass break out from the maximum security block of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul on September 3, 1972. However, their own break-out had caused perimeter security to be greatly increased and they found the area swarming with armed guards. There was a shoot-out in which two guards were seriously injured and Mercier was wounded before they managed to get away. There were suggestions in some media publications that Mesrine may have been shot without warning in a way which amounted to extrajudicial killing, but the police pointed out that he had sworn that he would never surrender and that, as well as having a gun on him, Mesrine had been armed with two grenades which were taped together and adapted so they could be brought into action instantly. Mesrine and Besse hijacked a car and evaded the police cordon; they had become the first men to escape from La Santé. On March 5, 1973, during an argument with a cashier in a coffee bar, Mesrine brandished a revolver and seriously injured a police officer who tried to intervene.

Mesrine and Besse robbed a Paris gunsmith four days after their escape from La Santé. Mesrine and Schneider were acquitted of the murder of Le Bouthillier in 1971. With Jean-Paul Mercier, Mesrine cut through the wire to escape again on August 21, 1972, with five others from the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul prison. The rangers were armed but their jobs had mainly involved enforcing hunting and firearms regulations, and in any case, there was no reason for them to expect that the men who had been making themselves conspicuous by such a disturbance would actually be wanted escapees. While participating in counter-insurgency operations, Mesrine’s duties are said to have included the killing of prisoners. By this time it was apparent that Mesrine did not have a typical criminal attitude towards minimizing the danger of being caught. On June 30, Evelyne Le Bouthillier, an elderly lady who may have given them refuge, was found strangled.