Off-Duty Soldiers Arrested After Defending Woman From Robbery

A trio of French soldiers on leave was arrested and face prosecution after they intervened to help a woman who was being robbed by a youth on the streets of Paris.

The soldiers, who were said to have been drinking at the time, came across a woman in distress as she was being robbed of her mobile phone in Paris’s Saint-Ambroise metro station early Sunday morning, Le Parisien reports.

The men, aged between 21 and 24, ran after the thief and caught up to him near the Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement and confronted him. A source close to the investigation said the men attempted to retrieve the woman’s property but were met with resistance from the young man and a fight ensued.

In the scuffle, the teen, who was found without any identification papers or an address, had one of his teeth chipped by one of the soldiers.

Following an investigation by the Railway Network Squad (BRF), the three soldiers and the youth were arrested. “At the public prosecutor’s office, they did not agree on what to do,” a source close to the investigation said and added: “Some wanted to give them up to the military. Finally, a prosecutor’s assistant decided to prosecute the soldiers.”

While in custody, one of the soldiers is said to have remarked: “If we have to be in custody, next time, we will not intervene to defend a victim.”

The incident comes after over 1,600 Paris residents signed a petition to demand the government do more to combat roving gangs of underage migrants terrorising people on the streets of the city. Residents of the La Chapelle, Goutte-d’Or, and Barbès, including local business owners, have complained of targetted attacks including theft from the underage migrants.

Random acts of violence are also increasing both in Paris and across France as a whole, with an estimated 777 random acts of violence being committed across the country every day.

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