herald

Sunday 26 January 2020

€12k in seized cash goes missing from garda station office

Drogheda Garda Station
Drogheda Garda Station

A major investigation is under way after €12,000 in cash went missing from Drogheda Garda Station.

Senior sources say that it is suspected that the sum was stolen by someone who works at the station.

The incident happened several weeks ago but details of it only emerged last night.

It is understood that the money had been seized as part of a criminal investigation by local officers, but had not been placed in a safe.

Instead, it is believed that the cash went missing from the office of a garda in the large Co Louth station.

No arrests have been made and a suspect has not yet been identified but gardai have been viewing CCTV from inside the station in an attempt to catch the culprit.

The seized money is not linked to the ongoing Drogheda feud, which has led to at least one murder and countless violent incidents, including a suspected arson attack in the Moneymore Estate on Wednesday night that destroyed a woman's home.

"There is a major element of disgust among gardai in the station about what happened. Many officers based there are putting their lives on the line every day and night as they tackle the feuding gangs in the town," a senior source said.

"And then, for someone to take it upon themselves to steal €12k in cash certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth and it is hoped the perpetrator will be caught - but it seems unlikely that the cash will be recovered," the source added.

Gardai in Drogheda have had huge success in tackling the town's two feuding gangs under Operation Stratus, which has seen numerous arrests and significant seizures of drugs and weapons being made.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is now investigating the mobs and earlier this month Superintendent Andrew Watters said that gardai have 90 ongoing investigations in connection with Operation Stratus.

Meanwhile, there have been several instances of money being stolen from garda stations in recent times.

The news of the suspected theft in Drogheda Station happened as it was reported yesterday that €1,200 in cash was stolen from a man who had been arrested and was in custody in Co Cork.

The incident happened in a garda station in the Cork city division and the case is being investigated by GSOC (the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission).

In that case, it is understood the cash was stolen from a secure locker where prisoners' belongings are held while they are in a cell or being interviewed.

Evidence

In other cases, in January 2013, some €9,000 was stolen from Balbriggan Station, while in November 2016, €12,000 went missing from Kevin Street Garda Station.

In November of last year, Labour Party justice spokesman Sean Sherlock learned money being held in garda stations as evidence during investigations had disappeared 14 times between 2015 and 2017 at garda stations around the country.

Between 2015 and the end of 2017, 14 sums of cash held as part of investigations vanished from storage facilities of garda stations around the country.

The instances came to light when theft victims applied for the cash to be returned to them after investigations had ended, or through internal audits.

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