But Mesrine was behind bars for only a couple of years before he and five other inmates escaped using wire cutters and went on to commit a string of bank robberies. He must have been feeling pretty confident at this stage, because he and fellow escapee Jean-Paul Mercier actually returned to Saint Vincent De Paul to facilitate a mass prison break of even more inmates. The cops discovered their plan before they could execute it, but they escaped again. Mesrine apparently got sick of being the most wanted man in only one country, so he went to France to become the most wanted man there as well.
In France, Mesrine robbed more banks until he was finally captured, but this time they couldn't even hold on to him long enough to sentence him -- he escaped from the courtroom during trial by smuggling a gun into court and holding the judge hostage. Then he went and robbed a whole bunch of banks again, because at this point it's starting to get kinda funny.
RDA/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Thus his wardrobe of funny disguises.
... He was kind of a one-note comedian.
Eventually he was caught again and sentenced to 20 years in La Sante, France's toughest prison. But this one couldn't hold him either. With the help of a corrupt guard, Mesrine took some other guards hostage, busted even more friends out of their cells, scaled the wall, and disappeared into the shadows. Then he went right back to robbing.