An internal investigation into €12,000 in cash that has gone missing from a Dublin city garda station may become a criminal probe, the Herald can reveal.
The money could not be found when gardai conducted an internal audit at Kevin Street Garda Station.
Sources have disclosed that it was reported missing from a store room at the station and theft is suspected.
The store room is where exhibits and seized cash are kept and is meant to be a secure area.
The missing cash was most likely seized by gardai investigating criminal elements in the area, but this has not yet been confirmed.
A senior source said last night that the belief among investigators is that the cash was "most likely taken rather than misplaced".
"This money does not seem to have been misplaced, which means that the investigation could turn into a criminal case as the most likely scenario here is that the money was stolen," the source said.
A detective superintendent from another garda division in Dublin is leading the investigation into the missing cash.
It is understood the internal audit took place in recent weeks and the money may have been taken a number of months ago.
A garda spokesperson confirmed yesterday that a detective superintendent has been appointed to examine the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the money.
"The investigation is at an early stage, but this does not look good," the source added.
"It very much looks like that money was stolen."
At this stage, gardai do not believe any ongoing cases have been compromised by the disappearance of the money.
No suspects have yet been identified and there have been no arrests.
There have been a number of occasions in recent years in which sums of cash have gone missing from Dublin garda stations.
In June 2013, it emerged that €27,000 which was being kept in a safe at Malahide Garda Station was missing.
It had been recovered by off-icers following a robbery at the Coolock branch of Woodies DIY chain on the Malahide Road, which took place in June 2009.
The raiders made off with almost €60,000 but only one robber's share of the money was retrieved.