Fears notorious criminal posing as waste employee
Gardai believe a member of a notorious Dublin crime family is responsible for a spate of armed robberies across the South East region.
The man, who has over 100 previous convictions, is originally from the capital but has been living in Co Wexford for a number of years.
It's believed that his latest violent crime spree included a terrifying armed raid on a health food shop near his Gorey home last month. A source said that the heroin addict is the chief suspect in relation to the incident and others across the region.
The masked raider entered Mrs Bees Healthy Options Shop at Clonattin, Gorey shortly after lunchtime on February 26 armed with a large knife.
Witnesses recall seeing the balaclava-clad man sitting on a bench outside the premises before he burst into the store.
When inside, the reckless thug threatened two members of staff and one customer before making off with a small sum of money.
"He came in with a big knife," recalled the customer. "He pointed it at me and said 'give me your purse, and I handed it to him'.
"He then went to the staff and said to give him money and to remain calm and not to press any buttons."
A source has told the Herald the individual is "extremely dangerous" and "unpredictable" and should not be approached under any circumstances.
"This guy has done and seen it all," he said. "He has struggled with addiction from a young age and is capable of absolutely anything.
"What's more worrying is his size, he is well-built and incredibly strong.
"He is an animal of a man in every sense of the word," the source added.
Concerns have been expressed after the man was spotted calling to homeowner's doors in recent weeks dressed as a representative of a well-known waste company.
It's understood that he is using the "act" to try and gain entry to people's homes in a bid to "case them out" in Wexford, Wicklow and South Dublin.
"It's a good way of finding out who lives in a particular house and when they are home.
"Some people can also be very trusting of someone who calls to their door dressed in clothing bearing a respected company's branding," added the source.
"In some cases, people may even invite these individuals in for a cup of tea," he said. "It's very worrying.
The man has been involved in a number of serious crimes including offences committed behind bars.
While in prison he has been caught with mobile phones, drugs and other contraband.