herald

Thursday 23 March 2017

Travel agent vows to move premises after armed raid

Ciara Mooney says she plans to leave the shop in Celbridge. Photo: Tony Gavin
Ciara Mooney says she plans to leave the shop in Celbridge. Photo: Tony Gavin

A travel agent has vowed to move premises following a terrifying armed raid at her Celbridge business.

The Herald can reveal that gardai are investigating whether the criminal who targeted the Co Kildare premises used a phone box outside the shop to put on his disguise.

The lone man used a knife to threaten the owner and a staff member of the Freedom Travel shop on Main Street, shortly after 5pm last Tuesday.

He was wearing a pair of patterned tights over his head when he entered the shop.

Gardai have now received reports that a man was seen acting suspiciously in the phone box prior to the raid.

Moving

The owner of the business, Ciara Mooney (34), said the robbery will now spur her on in a decision to move premises.

"I'm looking for a bigger place now. I had been thinking of moving the office but this is the nail in the coffin for my shop here," she said.

"Maybe things happen for a reason, but I won't let this put me out of business," she added.

She said the phone box is a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

"Nobody uses it anymore for making calls. Everyone has mobiles now," she said.

Ciara is hoping that someone will know who the raider is and will help gardai catch him before he terrifies someone else.

"He was very agitated, like he was on drugs or something, and his accent sounded like a Dublin one," she said.

The suspect is described as being about 5ft 11in tall and of medium build.

Ciara told the Herald the raider waved a large blade at her in the shop.

"It was dark outside and I was with one of my staff, thankfully there were no customers in the shop at the time," she said.

"Someone came in and, when I looked up, he was waving a knife with a six or seven-inch blade around. He had a pair of dark tights over his head that had a pattern in them, which made him look disfigured, it was very frightening.

"He was holding the knife up high. I didn't know what to think, and I was just trying to stay calm. But when he jumped over the counter it really made us scared," she added.

"He kept saying: 'I don't want to hurt yiz girls' but the way he was showing the knife was terrifying. He ushered us into the back office and forced us to open the safe.

"After he cleaned out the safe he was looking for cash registers. All he was interested in was cash," she said.

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