Read in Catalan

Arrested in the Catalan town of La Jonquera, last stop before the Spanish-French frontier: a 42-year-old man with an international arrest warrant. Catalonia's Mossos d'Esquadra police carried out the arrest of the individual who was wanted for an armed robbery and homicide perpetrated in 1999 at a bank in Winter Garden (Florida, USA). The officers intercepted him on Monday at around 2:30am in a hotel in the town at the Mediterranean end of the Pyrenees range. As police sources confirmed to, the alleged criminal is Eric Charaudeau, who is thought to have committed the robbery and homicide when he was only 17 years old.

During the identification process, police officers confirmed that there was an Interpol alert on the man as well as an international arrest warrant for the 1999 events in Florida. For this reason, the Catalan police arrested him at the hotel in La Jonquera and have turned him over to Spain's National Audience criminal court. Now, the 42-year-old is awaiting extradition to the United States where, for the crimes attributed to him, he could face a life sentence in prison.

The armed robbery in Florida

Over 24 years ago, on June 4th, 1999, Eric Charaudeau is alleged to have robbed a Republik Bank office located in Winter Garden, Florida, with another man. While they were carrying out the assault, two further accomplices were waiting for them outside in a vehicle. One of them drove the car, while the other kept watch over the outside of the bank. But not everything went as they had hoped.

When they were inside the bank, both Charaudeau and his fellow robber threatened the bank employees with firearms, demanding all the money they had. The booty was duly handed over and the thieves fled at high speed. They seemed to have escaped, but the vehicle crashed and one of the two companions waiting outside the bank - the driver - was killed. As for the murder, however, the man arrested in Catalonia is accused of killing another of his fellow robbers, the man who was watching the exterior of the bank.

But there's another curious fact, according to local newspaper records from 1999, after the crash, Eric was mistakenly released from Orlando Regional Medical Center. That is how he escaped, and he has been free for almost 25 years, until the Mossos d'Esquadra captured him this Monday in La Jonquera.

Other criminals discovered on the French border

It is not the first time that criminals have crossed the French border - in one direction or the other - and have been intercepted by police. In mid-December, Spanish National Police shot and killed two dangerous suspects who were trying to evade a police checkpoint a few more miles south of the border, in the city of Figueres. As reported, the two individuals, of French nationality, aged 27, were wanted by French authorities for the murder of a member of a rival gang, a drug trafficking-related killing. When the Catalan officers learned that there was a European warrant out for their arrest – issued by France – for these events, the criminals tried to flee by driving straight at the policemen, who opened fire to avoid being injured. Despite the spectacular nature of the case, the shots went to the area of the car's wheels and one of the criminals suffered leg injuries.