"Avec lui, les voleurs s'échappaient toujours."
Translation:With him, the robbers always escaped.
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Thanks. Yes, that is also how I understand it, as well. I was just wondering whether the French "voleur" is closer to a thief than to a robber, but I guess in many uses the distinction is rather vague in either language. A bank robber is a "voleur de banque" and (apparantly) you also play "gendarme et au voleur" when you are playing "cops and robbers". Perhaps that that also the intended context of this sentence (will suggest to johnuw93 as well).
I see braqueur/braquage used a lot in the newspaper for an armed robber/robbery.
I've read that you use s'échapper when it's on its own -- elle s'est échappée = she escaped. Also use s'échapper de + location -- elle s'est échappée de prison = she escaped from prison.
But you use échapper + à when escaping someone or something -- elle a échappé à la police = she escaped from the police; elle a échappé à la punition = she escaped punishment