The 20 Most Secretly Brilliant Stupid Criminals

#18. The Pascal Payet Escapes

After killing an armored truck driver, Pascal Payet was arrested and sentenced to a 30-year stint in France's Luynes prison. But Luynes prison had one major flaw in its design that Payet knew how to exploit: It had a sky over it.

By 2001, Payet decided to leave ... via a helicopter that some buddies of his hijacked. Sadly, the details of this glorious breakout are scant, but we're assuming it involved him leaping in slow motion and grabbing onto the skids of the helicopter in midair.


"And, now, could you point me in the direction he took the helicopter, officer?"

We'd imagine that escape via helicopter is one of those "so crazy it might work" ideas that could only possibly work because nobody would ever see it coming. Nevertheless, after roaming free for a couple of years, Payet must have figured that if dropping a helicopter into a prison worked once, why wouldn't it work again? In 2003, he hopped in a helicopter, flew back to Luynes prison and busted out three inmates. These men were friends of his, but we're pretty sure he was just having one of those moments where you do something so cool you have to do it again just to make sure.

After breaking out his buddies, Payet was captured and given an additional seven years on his sentence. This time he wasn't placed in just one big-house, but was moved to a different prison every three months or so in a sad attempt to make the process helicopter proof. Payet's would seem to be one of those stories of a stupid person who accidentally does something awesome, and is doomed to repeat it over and over, like a less depressing Motley Crue reunion tour.

Secretly Brilliant:

It seemed that way until July of 2007, when a helicopter carrying four masked men landed on the roof of Grasse prison in Southeast France during the start of the night shift.


"Holy shit I can't believe how easy this is."

The men broke Payet out of his isolation ward and flew him off into the sunset. And just to prove that he knows a thing or two about symbolism, this breakout occurred on Bastille Day, a French holiday that commemorates the storming of a prison. Payet, you glorious son of a bitch ...

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