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Oh, Non! McDonald's Stickup In France Foiled By Special Forces Eating There

Two men allegedly tried to make off with more than $2,000 at a McDonald's in Besancon, France, on Sunday.
Justin Sullivan
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Two men allegedly tried to make off with more than $2,000 at a McDonald's in Besancon, France, on Sunday.

When two armed men burst into a McDonald's in Besancon, France, on Sunday, it's safe to say they chose the wrong fast-food franchise for a stickup. French police say the men in their 20s fired a warning shot and cleaned out the registers of about 2,000 euros ($2,280).

But unbeknownst to the alleged would-be thieves, among the 40 McDonald's diners reportedly that night were 11 off-duty members of an elite French special forces team that specializes in hostage situations. Qui aurait su!?

During the robbery, the gendarmes initially did nothing to intervene. That's not because all the royale with cheese slowed their reactions.

Local prosecutor Edwige Roux-Morizot was quoted by The Telegraph as saying, "It was out of the question to use their weapons, as this would have created difficulties and could have placed many people's lives in danger."

The members of the special forces are part of the Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, or GIGN. The Washington Post says the GIGN "was created in the aftermath of the hostage situation at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, when Israeli Olympians were held against their will and eventually killed."

One of the would-be robbers reportedly tripped while trying to run out the door with his loot. And it was then that the special forces team nabbed him.

The other man refused to drop his weapon when ordered to do so, French police said. A member of the special forces team then shot him in the stomach. None of the diners or employees were injured. The two suspects were sent to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

They reportedly face charges of armed robbery.

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NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996 and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.