Man Armed With Box Cutter Arrested After Threatening People in French Church

Man Armed With Box Cutter Arrested After Threatening People in French Church

A man armed with a box cutter was arrested in the suburbs of Paris on Thursday after threatening to kill a worshipper inside a local church while wearing a fake suicide belt-like device.

The incident took place at the church of Sainte-Agnès de Maisons-Alfort in the Parisian suburb of Val-de-Marne on Thursday afternoon and saw the man, said to be in his 40s, enter the church at around 2:30 pm while dressed in a long black coat.

The man is said to have approached one of the worshippers in the church and repeatedly threatened to kill them while armed with a box cutter. Witnesses stated that they had seen the man with the box cutter in his hand before he entered the church, Actu17 reports.

When police arrived and searched the man, they found religious talismans attached to a belt which also had wires protruding from it, suggesting a possible explosive device but it was quickly determined the man was not carrying any explosives on his person.

French Regions Ordered to Increase Church Security over Christmas Terror Fears

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A source close to the investigation said the man showed signs of mental illness and will be given a psychiatric evaluation to confirm any suspicions he may be suffering from mental health problems.

The incident comes just a week after French Interior Minister  Gérald Darmanin called don prefects across France to increase security measures at churches over the Christmas holiday period due to the threat of possible terrorist attacks.

Earlier this month, two men in the Paris suburbs of Seine-et-Marne and Yvelines were arrested by the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI), France’s domestic intelligence unit, for allegedly plotting to carry out a terrorist attack over Christmas.

Churches have been the target of terrorists in France in the past, including the Nice terror attack last year that saw a Tunisian illegal immigrant stab three people to death in the city’s Basilica before he was shot by police.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)

Chris Tomlinson