Sunday, 20 March 2005


Sunday Tribune

THE two gangs that are the main focus of Garda attention this weekend have had major success robbing banks. In particular, the Finglas-based gang, run by two brothers, has been prolific over the past 12 months.

Before last week's robbery, the biggest of the recent heists was a 1m raid on a cash-in-transit van delivering to an ATM at Bettystown in Meath last July.

A month before, three raiders made off with 80,000 from a Securicor van delivering to an ATM at Marian Park in Drogheda.

The same gang are the chief suspects in the 200,000 robbery of an ATM delivery in Swords, Co Dublin, last May, while another Securicor van was hit for 217,000 when delivering to the Supervalu at Palmerstown shopping centre in west Dublin last March.

In total, a small core of no more than two or three organised crime gangs have carried out over 50 robberies of cash-in-transit vehicles since the start of 2004, mostly in the greater Dublin area.

The trend points to one stark fact: gangs such as John Gilligan's, Martin Cahill's and the notorious Dunne outfit (who showed Cahill the robbery ropes) all started out robbing banks and later used much of this cash to buy into the drugs market.

It took over a decade for special garda units such as the criminal assets bureau (CAB) and the national drugs unit (GNDU) to force these gangs out of business. Some senior gardai believe that the re-emergence of such a trend . . . thieves working to fund large drugs enterprises . . . is a warning sign that a small core of criminal gangs has begun to approach a level of power not seen since the mid to late 1990s.
March 20, 2005

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

'New kids on block' key targets in €2m raid

By Tom Brady

Wednesday March 16 2005
GARDAI believe the gang responsible for the €2m security van heist in Dublin may have been 'new kids on the block'. Descriptions of the raiders involved in the abduction and robbery vary but they are thought to be fairly young and unlikely to have been linked to similar crimes in the past.

GARDAI believe the gang responsible for the €2m security van heist in Dublin may have been 'new kids on the block'.

Descriptions of the raiders involved in the abduction and robbery vary but they are thought to be fairly young and unlikely to have been linked to similar crimes in the past.

Senior detectives are now examining the recent movements of members of crime gangs established in the past few years.

They think the culprits may have been involved in less spectacular crimes such as hit-and-run cash robberies from security vans but have now graduated to a new level of crime.

One of the crime gangs on the suspect list is led by two brothers who operate on the northside of the capital.

They have been responsible for masterminding a series of raids on ATM deliveries in Dublin and surrounding counties in the past couple of years.

Last night gardai were also awaiting important information on the notes taken in the raid that could assist in identifying anyone who tried to off load them.

According to Garda sources the money was in €50, €20, €10 notes. They had already been in circulation but were of a good enough quality to be usable in the ATM machines.

The gang faces the same money laundering headache as the robbers of the €38m Northern Bank haul in December.

Only a small amount from that raid has so far emerged. It was found in a PSNI sports centre outside Belfast while Garda forensic experts are trying to determine if bundles of notes found during a raid in Cork in recent weeks was part of the same cache.

Throughout yesterday the Richardson family at the centre of the drama were continuing to work with detectives as they tried to obtain as much detail as possible about what happened and who was involved.

Gardai also preserved the scene at the family's home in Raheny and the site in the Dublin mountains where Mrs Richardson and her two sons were taken and held.

While a new breed of armed robber is now high on the list of suspects, gardai are not ruling out that hardened criminals could have been behind the raid. These criminals are all in the 40s and 50s, are well known to gardai and are suspected of having carried out a similar abduction and raid six years ago, as well as a series of computer-chip robberies. One of the gang has recently settled a €200,000 case with the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Garda sources say they are investigating links between this latest raid and a €1m Bureau de Change heist in November 1999, believed to have been carried out by this gang.

In that robbery, a bureau employee was held hostage in her home overnight and forced to open the city centre office the next morning.

Officially gardai are keeping an open mind on the inquiry, spearheaded by Assistant Commissioner Martin Callinan, and have not ruled out paramilitary involvement in the raid.

The Richardson family are still deeply traumatised after their ordeal and at this stage have only made brief preliminary statements to the gardai.

Marie and Paul Richardson and their two teenage sons Ian and Kevin are popular in their area. Neighbours yesterday expressed concern for their welfare.

It emerged that some of the gang members briefly took their masks off while seizing the family and as a result may eventually be identified.

Around 100 gardai from Dublin and the midlands, along with detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, are working on the probe.

A garda spokesperson yesterday said it is clear the gang was well organised and were willing to take risks. "Quite a bit of work went into organising this heist," he said.

Gardai are now interested in receiving any information from motorists passing the Angler's Rest pub on Knockmarroon Hill, Chapelizod at 8.30am on Monday.

They would like to hear from anyone who may have noticed a small dark car in the carpark there, with a number of men who had been seen standing around.

They are also seeking information on anyone who may have been in the following areas: Ashcroft housing estate, Raheny after 8pm Sunday; Glencree Wood and Enniskerry Road from 8pm Sunday to 9am Monday; Strawberry Beds area of Lucan from 7am Monday; the Mullingar to Kinnegad road between 7am and 10am Monday.

Anyone with information can contact Santry gardai at 01 666 4000.

- Tom Brady

Thursday, 10 March 2005

Murder 'linked to other gang killing'

By Tom BradySecurity Editor

Thursday March 10 2005
TWO women have been arrested by gardai in connection with the savage murder of a young Dublin man early yesterday.

The death of John Roche (25), of Clonmacnoise Road in Dublin is being linked to the fatal shooting of another gang-feud victim in the capital last year.

Mr Roche was hit at least twice in the chest when gunmen opened fire on him as he left his parked car at Military Road in Kilmainham shortly after midnight.

Four shots were fired from a handgun and the two gunmen then jumped into a black car which was seen speeding away shortly afterwards towards John's Road.

Mr Roche staggered around 100 metres along the road before collapsing outside Murray's pub. He was taken to St James' Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3.35am.

Gardai believe the dead man was associated with one of two gangs involved in a bitter feud over drug-trafficking for the past couple of years.

Mr Roche had been sought by gardai for questioning about the murder of a 23-year-old glazier, Paul Warren, of St Teresa's Gardens in the south inner city in February last year.

This was the first gangland murder this year. Last November career criminal Paul Cunningham (23), was shot dead in a house in Mulhuddart in west Dublin as part of a separate feud.

Cunningham was a close associate of gang leader Declan Curran who died in his cell at Cloverhill prison the previous weekend after being arrested at the scene of an armed hold-up. Last weekend another associate, Anthony Spratt, from Finglas, was found hanged in his cell at Mountjoy jail.

The level of serious gangland crime, particularly murders, has dropped significantly in the past year.

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy described the fall as substantial and pointed out that some of the perceived gangland murders were family rows that developed for very little reason.

The two women are being held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act at Kevin Street Garda Station.

They can be held without charge for up to 72 hours.

- Tom BradySecurity Editor