French Thieves Give a Christmas Gift to the Police

French thieves spread some holiday cheer to an unlikely place -- the police station.

French policemen patrol at the Christmas market area in Strasbourg, eastern France, on November 27, 2015, on its opening day. For security reasons the city center has been closed to car traffic during the whole period of Strasbourg's Christmas market, following the November 13 Paris attacks.  AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP / PATRICK HERTZOG        (Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)
French policemen patrol at the Christmas market area in Strasbourg, eastern France, on November 27, 2015, on its opening day. For security reasons the city center has been closed to car traffic during the whole period of Strasbourg's Christmas market, following the November 13 Paris attacks. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP / PATRICK HERTZOG (Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)
French policemen patrol at the Christmas market area in Strasbourg, eastern France, on November 27, 2015, on its opening day. For security reasons the city center has been closed to car traffic during the whole period of Strasbourg's Christmas market, following the November 13 Paris attacks. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP / PATRICK HERTZOG (Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)

Five masked thieves who robbed a delivery center in southeastern France on Dec. 22 were disappointed to open what they thought were boxes of luxury goods and find something very different inside: armbands for the French police.

So instead of holding on to them, the thieves played Santa Claus for the very people hoping to arrest them and quietly delivered the six packages to a police station on Christmas Eve.

According to French newspaper Dauphine Libere, they also taped a light-hearted note to the packages: "An unexpected windfall, luxury clothing targeted without weapons or violence. Happy holidays to all,” it read.

Five masked thieves who robbed a delivery center in southeastern France on Dec. 22 were disappointed to open what they thought were boxes of luxury goods and find something very different inside: armbands for the French police.

So instead of holding on to them, the thieves played Santa Claus for the very people hoping to arrest them and quietly delivered the six packages to a police station on Christmas Eve.

According to French newspaper Dauphine Libere, they also taped a light-hearted note to the packages: “An unexpected windfall, luxury clothing targeted without weapons or violence. Happy holidays to all,” it read.

French prosecutor Matthiew Bourrette, who spoke to the French press about the incident Tuesday, stressed that the robbers didn’t end up completely empty-handed. Although they chose to return the armbands, they still made off with expensive Louis Vuitton products. And even though they were literally right outside a police station when they dropped off the armbands, the thieves still haven’t been caught.

PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images

Henry Johnson is a fellow at Foreign Policy. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in history and previously wrote for LobeLog. Twitter: @HenryJohnsoon

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.