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Saturday 16 December 2017

ATM raiders caught in the act on camera

SINISTER images show the terrifying robbery of a Dublin convenience store – and its violent aftermath.

A three-man gang – all hooded and armed were filmed as they broke into a Gala shop at East Wall in a morning raid. Once inside they spent 20 minutes trying to break into an ATM machine before gardai were alerted.

The Herald’s exclusive footage shows an innocent breadman opening the shop, before three black-clad, armed and masked men run in afterwards. He was then tied up inside as the gang located the ATM.

Twenty minutes later gardai are seen arriving, leading to the arrest of one of the men. In the intervening period the men used hammers, axes and crowbars to try to get to the cash in the machine at the back of the shop.

But their noise and disruption woke residents who alerted gardai, leading to one of the thugs being arrested in the store room of the popular convenience store.

The drama unfolded at 3.13am on March 15 last, and our CCTV footage shows the three men running into the shop after it was opened by a bread delivery driver.

The camera picked up the driver entering the premises, and just one minute later the three raiders can be seen running from the opposite side of the road and straight into the shop.

"They tied up the delivery man with cable-ties and then set about trying to smash open the ATM," said Gala owner Miriam Collins.

"I don't know what they were thinking because it was pitch black inside the shop, they couldn't see what they were doing, and the machines are impossible to get into," she told the Herald.

The delivery driver, who did not want to be named, said the gang just burst in behind him.

"They dragged me up the shop on my stomach and cable-tied my hands and ankles," said the driver.

"They told me to stay down and not say a word. I was right beside them when they were trying to open the machine," he added. "They seemed to be there for ages. I was just thinking of my wife and our baby all through it," the driver added.

Hitting

Once inside the shop the three raiders started hitting the ATM from the front, managing to open a surface door.

But that only revealed the strengthened steel safe that contained the money. Having no luck, the thugs then smashed the plasterboard wall all around the machine in an effort to move it. But they could not budge it because it was bolted to the floor. They then kicked in the door of the small room behind the machine and started smashing at the safe from behind.

But despite repeated attempts to smash the unit open, and causing massive damage to the computer section, the thieves were forced to give up.

By then, concerned neighbours living above the shop had alerted gardai, who arrived at the scene as the gang ripped the tills from the counters.

"They arrested a 23-year-old in the stores at the back, but the other two got away," said Ms Collins.

Gardai confirmed one man was arrested at the scene, and later appeared in court charged with burglary.

The bread delivery driver managed to free himself and was shaken but unharmed in the ordeal.

"We got a call from Store Street gardai at around 4.45am to tell us what had happened. It was a terrible shock," said Ms Collins. The Gala store was closed until after lunch on Monday, The damage caused is thought to run to thousands of euro.

hnews@herald.ie

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