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