A man suspected of carrying out an armed raid at a post office in Co Longford yesterday afternoon is being treated in hospital after he crashed a stolen car during a high-speed chase.
The suspect, who is from the Blanchardstown area of the capital, is understood to have entered the post office shortly after 2.30 armed with a baseball bat and a box cutter.
He is one of the capital's most notorious armed shop robbers.
During the course of the incident, he allegedly demanded cash and obtained the keys to a Mazda car after threatening a female customer.
Having snatched around €5,000, the man took off in the car with a number of gardai from Longford and Granard in pursuit.
A short time later, between Carrickboy and Edgeworthstown, the suspect was arrested after he lost control of the vehicle, which crashed and flipped over.
The career criminal is originally from Dublin but had recently been living in the Edgeworthstown area.
He is believed to have sustained a minor head injury in the crash and was being treated at Mullingar's Midland Regional Hospital.
The road where the chase came to an end was closed for several hours as garda specialists examined it.
The Herald can reveal that the injured suspect has not been out of prison for long, having previously served a four-year sentence for a spate of shop robberies in Dublin.
It is understood he has a long-standing heroin addiction and has convictions stretching back over two decades.
In the early 2000s, he robbed the same shop twice in the space of a week with another notorious criminal from the city's southside.
In the same year, he was also convicted of robbing a bookmaker's and an off-licence in south Dublin.
When he was arrested he told gardai he was under pressure to repay a drug debt.
He was sentenced to three years in prison for those robberies, which he committed several days after being released from prison for other offences.
"This man is a menace - he has moved to the Midlands after being released from jail in Dublin where he caused chaos for years," a source said yesterday.
Granard gardai are investigating the armed robbery.
The suspect will be detained as soon as he is released from hospital.
"What happened yesterday could have been a lot more serious but for the actions of the gardai," a senior source told the Herald.
Traffic gardai and the local armed support unit were supported by the Longford detective unit for what was described as a very successful arrest operation.
Only the suspected robber was injured in the incident.