A 20-year-old policewoman, who has been described as “radicalised” by colleagues, has been arrested in the heavily migrant-populated Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis after being accused of stealing firearms.
The 20-year-old woman was arrested late last week for allegedly stealing two Sig Sauer 9mm calibre pistols. Three other suspects have also been arrested in connection with the case including a member of the French military, Le Parisien reports.
Colleagues of the 20-year-old officer described her as having an unpleasant personality and said they suspected she might hold radical Islamic extremist sympathies.
The theft is thought to have occurred last August and the gun profile matches that of a pistol which was used to fire on a soldier who was jogging in a forest in Ozoir-la-Ferrière in November. The soldier was shot in the leg and escaped the encounter without fatal injuries.
During the raids that led to the arrest of the policewoman, one of the pistols was recovered while the other has yet to be found by authorities.
A police executive remarked on the case saying it was “incomprehensible” why the female officer would steal the pistols from the department, which are easily traced, as opposed to buying weapons on the street.
The availability of weapons on the street in France has become a worrying issue for authorities as several drug raids over the last year have revealed military-style weapons in the hands of criminals.
Last November, in the regions of Eure-et-Loir, Eure, and Yvelines, police raided drug dealers and found several anti-tank rocket launchers, automatic rifles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
In several cases, the Islamic radicals who have attempted or carried out terror attacks are criminals and may have used those connections to acquire the same sort of weaponry.
Several attacks, including the Paris Bataclan massacre and the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015, have seen terrorists use fully automatic military-grade weapons.