herald

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Hunt for robber who terrorised bank staff during €14k 'stick-up'

The AIB on Westmoreland Street where the terrifying armed robbery took place
The AIB on Westmoreland Street where the terrifying armed robbery took place

An international manhunt is under way for a bank robber who terrorised staff in an armed raid in Dublin city.

The suspect, aged in his 30s and from the Darndale area of the capital, shoved a gun close to the face of a young staff member who was forced to hand over €14,000 in cash. The shocking robbery happened at the AIB on Westmoreland Street at 11.30am on October 10.

Gardai said the gunman arrived and left on foot but were unable to confirm whether the staff member was handed a threatening note as the weapon was brandished in his face.

"We are assisting the gardai with their investigations," an AIB spokesman told the Herald.

Unusual

There have been no arrests yet in the case which is being investigated by detectives from Pearse Street Garda Station.

"What happened here was highly unusual in Dublin city centre or any other town - it was a stick-up in a bank," a senior source said last night.

"A chief suspect was identified very quickly and despite the fact that he fled the bank on foot he was not caught by gardai, but his movements have been caught on CCTV.

"Numerous searches have since been carried out in north Dublin but the belief is that he is not in the country."

The Herald can reveal that detectives believe the heroin addict is being shielded by a relative in Manchester after fleeing the country through Northern Ireland last week.

The suspect had been acting as a driver for a notorious 31-year-old hood who is considered one of the most active participants in the deadly Coolock feud which has claimed three lives.

The bank robber's pal is now in jail on firearm charges but during the summer the Darndale criminal was the driver in an incident which led to a motorway being closed as officers chased him when they received intelligence that the duo were about to carry out a hit.

Sources say that before becoming addicted to heroin the suspected bank robber had been a key member of the 'Mr Big' drugs organisation.

Debt

This mob is now said to be "taking major advantage" of the Coolock feud as well as the Hutch/Kinahan gang warfare to sell huge amounts of drugs with garda attention diverted elsewhere.

"It's a long time since this lad was trusted by the likes of 'Mr Big', as you call him. The reason why he robbed that bank is because he owes a massive drugs debt - that's what gardai believe," a senior source said.

It can also be revealed that the thug, who is on bail and has multiple previous convictions, has been blamed by the Hutch mob for involvement in the unsolved murder of Derek Coakley Hutch in January 2018 near Wheatfield Prison.

Despite never being arrested for the feud gun killing, sources say the Hutch mob received "intelligence" that he was paid €20,000 for his "logistical" role.

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