herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Travel agent's horrifying ordeal as masked knife raider threatens staff

Ciara Mooney said the raid at Freedom Travel was a terrifying experience. Photo: Tony Gavin
Ciara Mooney said the raid at Freedom Travel was a terrifying experience. Photo: Tony Gavin

A travel agent has spoken of her fear when a masked man brandishing a large knife walked in off the street and demanded money.

Ciara Mooney (34) had spent a busy day at her Freedom Travel shop on the Main Street in Celbridge, Co Kildare, when the robber walked through the door at 5pm.

"It was dark outside and I was with one of my members of staff," she said. "Thankfully, there were no customers in the shop.

"Someone came in and when I looked up it was a masked man waving a knife with a six or seven-inch blade.

Jumped

"He had a pair of dark, patterned tights over his head, which made him look disfigured. It was very frightening," Ciara told the Herald.

"He had a hat on as well, and dark clothing - a sporty jacket and trendy looking runners, but not trainers.

"He was holding the knife up high. I didn't know what to think. I was just trying to stay calm. But when he jumped over the counter it really made us scared.

"He kept saying, 'I don't want to hurt yiz girls', but the way he was showing the knife was terrifying.

"He ushered us into the back office and forced us to open the safe.

"I was surprised I was able to do it, and we had to explain to him that most customers use cards and not cash.

"After he cleaned out the safe he was looking for cash registers, but we don't use any, so he wanted our wallets.

"All he was interested in was cash, not phones or computers. I couldn't wait for him to go."

Ciara said the robber turned left up Main Street when he left the shop.

She is hoping that someone will know who the raider is and help gardai catch him before he terrifies someone else.

"He was very agitated, like he was on drugs or something, and his accent sounded like a Dublin one," she said.

"I'm just hoping that if anyone knows anything they might help, or if they saw anything suspicious they might remember it and help find this person.

Messages

"I've been here for seven years now and we've never been robbed before. It really was a terrifying experience."

Ciara said the support from her many customers after the incident on Monday has been "brilliant".

"We are very thankful to them for their concern and all their messages and kind words.

"We just hope others do not have to go through this ordeal. We were not physically hurt but it is something we will never forget."

The suspect is described as 5ft 11in tall and of medium build. No arrests have yet been made but gardai are investigating the robbery and have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

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