herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Gangster The Viper is arrested in 'bizarre' incident in jeweller's

Martin Foley
Martin Foley

Veteran gangster Martin 'The Viper' Foley was arrested after an incident at a Dublin city centre jewellery store.

Foley (64) and a 37-year-old associate allegedly threatened a terrified female employee in a jewellery store in the Ilac Centre on the capital's northside.

The pair were arrested by gardai from Store Street Station shortly before 2pm.

The two remained in garda custody last night and were being questioned about false imprisonment after the incident.

It has emerged that Foley had been in dispute with the respected business over an item of jewellery he had left in the premises to be sold.

strange

The item, which is understood to be valued at around €3,000, was left into the jeweller's by Foley about three weeks ago.

However, within the last fortnight, in what sources call "a very strange development", the jeweller's became the victim of a scam.

An individual bought Foley's jewellery and left the store before it became known that the transaction had been declined on the buyer's card.

It is understood that gardai are investigating whether the staff member had been the victim of a confidence trick when this happened.

It has been alleged that Foley then contacted the jeweller's looking for his cash, and when he was told about what had happened and that the business did not have his cash, he allegedly made a series of increasingly threatening phone calls.

He then arrived into the jeweller's at lunchtime yesterday with his close associate and allegedly issued serious threats to a female member of staff.

Gardai were called to the scene and the veteran gangster and his pal were arrested.

Foley's associate is a Crumlin man who was heavily involved in the gangster's debt collection agency.

Sources said the incident had nothing to do with a foiled raid or the Viper's former debt collection business.

A 61-year-old woman was walking past the jewellery shop beside Dunnes Stores in the ILAC Centre when her daughter told her she recognised a man standing at the door of the jeweller's as Martin Foley, known as 'The Viper'.

"My daughter recognised his face from the newspapers," she told the Herald.

"Martin Foley was just standing on the corner at the door and then somebody grappled with him.

"There was a struggle and then someone shouted 'Call the guards.' That's when all the security guards rushed up and grabbed hold of him and pulled him inside the shop and then pulled down the black shutters.

"There was another fellow inside and someone was holding him over the counter. So the two of them were in the shop and all of the security guards were there," she said.

Foley is one of Ireland's most notorious criminals and has been shot on four separate occasions.

He has 14 bullet wounds and more than 40 convictions, some for assault and robbery, and possession of weapons.

TARGET

He set up a now-defunct debt collection company a decade ago and has been a long-term target for the Criminal Assets Bureau and other garda units.

Foley became a father again in January when his wife Sonia Doyle gave birth to a baby girl.

Last October, Foley did an interview with the Herald in which he spoke of his anger after his wedding ring was seized by Revenue officials in relation to an unpaid tax bill of almost €1m.

He also said that Sonia was left "very stressed out" and needed medical attention because he claimed she believed their dog would be taken.

hnews@herald.ie

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