But, unbeknownst to them as they fired warning shots into the air and took the till for all it had, 11 of the 40 people in the restaurant were French special forces officers, from the "Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, or GIGN - the Gallic equivalent of the SAS".
Edwige Roux-Morizot, the local prosecutor, said: “During the hold-up, the gendarmes didn’t do anything. 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 highly trained and battle-hardened officers were able to pounce on the first of the two robbers when he tripped on his way of the outlet without firing a shot.
However, they were forced to shoot the other in the abdomen when he pointed a gun at them as he sought to make his getaway with the cash, ignoring their orders to drop his weapon.
The two robbers, both in their early 20s and from the local Mombéliard area, were taken to Besancon hospital for treatment.