Bungling gang uses fake bomb but gets no cash in ATM heist
A cross-border gang are the chief suspects for a farcical attempt to pull an ATM from the wall of a bank in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The bungling gangsters, who escaped across the border without any money, placed barriers on the road, including a fake bomb and planks of wood with spikes on it, in an attempt to prevent their pursuit by gardai.
The drama started at 3am in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, when the gang unsuccessfully tried to pull the ATM out of the the Ulster Bank on the Dublin Road in the town.
The hoax bomb, which was placed on the road, was a gas cylinder which had a number of wires sticking out of it.
The army bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion of the cylinder at around lunchtime yesterday after earlier determining that the object was not viable.
The area was declared safe at 2pm, a number of hours after residents of two streets in the border town were evacuated from their homes.
The gang had stolen a teleporter construction machine from a building site at a school just 300 metres away, drove it through security gates and used it to smash the wall of the bank.
Gardai responding to a 999 call found that their way to the bank was blocked by barriers on the road.
Having removed the roadblock, they then sped to the scene to see the gang fleeing in a dark grey Audi A6 car and a white Ford Transit van.
The stolen teleporter and the ATM machine were left at the badly damaged bank.
Gardai pursued the van, which later crossed the border at Drumacon in the direction of Cullyhanna, Co Armagh.
The PSNI and gardai were involved in a hunt for the suspects last night with suspicions focused on associates of Fermanagh-based criminal Cyril McGuinnes (49), who was previously given a seven-year sentence in Belgium for his part in the theft of tractors and trailer units.
That operation, which spanned 11 jurisdictions, led to the recovery of €7m worth of stolen machinery.
In November, 2010, McGuinness was arrested and questioned for a failed ATM heist in Castleisland, Co Kerry, but was never charged in relation to the incident.
On that occasion, the raiders allegedly used a digger to rip the ATM machine from the wall.
Separately, gardai have launched an operation to target gangs who have been using gas to blow up ATM machines.