Three off-duty French soldiers were arrested after helping retrieve a woman’s stolen phone from a youth in Paris.

The robbery occurred early Sunday morning at the Saint-Amboise metro station; the three soldiers pursued the thief in a brief chase that ended with a fight.

All members involved – the soldiers aged between 21 and 24, and the teenage thief who had no identification papers or address – were placed in custody.

“If we have to be in custody, next time, we will not intervene to defend a victim,” said one of the soldiers.

After a lengthy detention the soldiers were presented to a magistrate, but the prosecutors could not reach an agreement.

“Some wanted to give them up to the military. Finally, a prosecutor’s assistant decided to prosecute the soldiers,” said a source close to the process.

Police say the soldiers had been drinking, it’s unknown if this had an effect on the prosecution.

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