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Family's tears as hero dad dies after chasing mugger

A young dad died from a heart attack two hours after chasing a mugger from his home.

Robbie Dean (41) tried to apprehend the criminal after he snatched his partner’s handbag from her car.

Mr Dean chased after the man for a distance until the snatcher dropped the handbag but the thief had removed the wallet.

Handbag

When he returned home, Mr Dean complained of feeling ill and went to bed – and he never woke up.

Originally from the Greenhills area of Tallaght, Mr Dean leaves behind his beloved partner Joan and stepchildren Sharon, Katie, Siobhan and Stephen.

The handbag snatch occurred as Joan’s car was parked in their driveway at Forest Drive, Kingswood Heights, Tallaght.

Today Mr Dean’s sister-in-law Sandra told the Herald that he was a “loveable character”.

“He was great, everybody loved Robbie, he was such a lovely guy,” she said.

“It’s still tough to talk about, everyone is very upset.”

Detectives have launched a major investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death. The thief was still at large today.

The Mayor of South Dublin, Councillor Mick Duff, said that he was "appalled" by the "selfish act" and passed on his sympathies to Mr Dean's loved ones.

"The people who do this kind of thing are mean and miserable, they're not prepared to work and it was a bad day's work for this thief when you consider the consequences," said the Mayor.

"His selfish act has caused immense hurt to the family of Robbie Dean and I send them my deepest sympathies."

Cllr Duff said that the Kingswood area had turned into a burglary blackspot in the past 18 months.

"Myself and my colleague Pat Rabitte held a meeting with the residents' association in Kingswood, and we found that there was a high level of theft in the area," he added.

"We have the same problem across the Luas line in Kilnamanagh. These thieves are robbing people of their hard-earned possessions and disappearing back on to the Luas.

"We were told at the meeting that there would be extra garda patrols put in place, but this could not prevent this tragedy."

Local councillor Dermot Looney has called on the mugger to come clean and ease the suffering of the Dean family.

"This is incredibly sad for the family. Whoever is responsible should hand themselves in and clear their conscience," Cllr Looney said.

Gardai have admitted that their investigations have "almost hit a dead end" and are seeking the assistance of the public in apprehending the thief.

Skinny

He is described as being a "tall, skinny, young lad" and he remains at large.

"As the bag was dropped in the snow and ice it was difficult to identify any fingerprints," he said.

"At this point in time we have nothing fruitful and are encouraging residents who saw anybody running off to come forward."

hnews@herald.ie