herald

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Terror as shop workers held at gunpoint by serial armed robber

The armed raider enters the Centra and pulls his gun out - just minutes after the local garda station closed
The armed raider enters the Centra and pulls his gun out - just minutes after the local garda station closed

This is the terrifying moment a serial armed raider held up a third shop in south Dublin.

In the most recent incident, the man, disguising himself with a balaclava, stormed a south-Dublin shop at the weekend and threatened staff with a handgun before fleeing with a small amount of cash.

The armed robbery took place at around 9.20pm on Sunday at the Centra store at Johnstown Road in Cabinteely.

The robbery happened just 20 minutes after the local garda station - which is located less than a two-minute drive from the shop - closed for the night.

However, store owner Bobby O'Reilly told the Herald he was "delighted" with the extremely quick response from officers, with a number of units rushing to the scene immediately after they were alerted.

Gardai are investigating whether two cars were used in the armed robbery, one as a getaway vehicle and the other as a "spotter" by the thug.

Gardai suspect this is the third occasion he has struck this year in shops on the southside of the city.

The criminal, who is believed to be aged in his mid-20s, pulled a handgun from a shopping bag when he entered the south-Dublin store and walked "calmly to the till area" where two young male staff members were working.

"He was waving his gun in the air and he started shouting 'give me the f**king money, give me the tills' when he entered the shop," owner Mr O'Reilly explained.

The criminal made off with the takings after the incident, which lasted for around 40 seconds and it is understood a small sum of cash was stolen.

While he was wearing a balaclava, the suspect did not wear gloves and gardai are hopeful of getting key forensic evidence from this.

Mr O'Reilly told the Herald he was "very proud" of how his two staff members handled the horrific situation.

"I would like to praise how the lads handled it.

"We have never had anything like this in the shop before and they were very calm.

"I would also like to praise how gardai responded to the situation, they were very prompt and very professional," he added.

It has also emerged that the same criminal is the chief suspect for two other similar raids in south Dublin over recent weeks.

The most recent of these was at the Centra in the Rathsallagh area of Shankill last month, when a raider used the same modus operandi as during Sunday night's raid.

Firearm

The Texaco garage at Rochestown Avenue in Dun Laoghaire was also targeted on February 18 in a raid linked to the same criminal.

Gardai in Dun Laoghaire are investigating all three crimes.

Last week, figures from the Central Statistics Office revealed there were 2,613 robberies of an establishment or institution involving a gun in the 10 years from 2005 to 2015.

The data also showed that there were 458 robberies by a person with firearm for the period. There were 510 aggravated burglaries where raiders were carrying a firearm.

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