Shop owner calls for more Gardaí
A CO. WICKLOW businessman is to seek a meeting with the Chief Superintendent of Wicklow Gardai following a vicious and terrifying raid at his store which left staff members in shock and traumatised.
Proprietor of Centra in Tinahely, David Whelan, slammed the system which sees rural Garda Stations close at 5 p.m., leaving all emergencies to be dealt with by district headquarters in Baltinglass.
‘This is not a personal attack on Gardaí but something must be done now to deter these criminals from targeting places such as Tinahely. It took 20 minutes for Gardaí to arrive.
‘Gangs like this know that Gardaí will not arrive within minutes and it makes us a target.’
Mr. Whelan said that his staff were taking some time to recover from the attack in the raiders threatened to ‘blow their brains out.’
The ordeal occured at 9 p.m. on Saturday evening as employees were preparing to close for the night.
A gang of three, dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, rushed into the store. One of them immediately attempted to pull down the shutters to disguise what was occuring inside from passers-by.
When they failed to do this, as the shut- ters are electronically operated, they grabbed two female members of staff, one of whom is just 16 years of age, in choke holds and threatened them with a large knife and what has been described as a batton.
One of the men, who are described as having Irish accents and aged between 17 and 20, went to locate the duty manager and to gain access to the cash room.
The manager, however bravely took on the thugs and managed to get past them and out on to the street where the alarm was raised. The gang made their escape with an amount of money stolen from the cash registers and drove off in a silver BMW in the Arklow/Shillelagh direction.
According to Mr. Whelan this is the same car used in a raid last week.
‘It is the same gang who broke in here on August 22 at 5 a.m.
‘They did not get the job done so they returned and tried to get staff to open the cash room for them,’ added Mr. Whelan.
The armed raiders sneak up and grab a young female shop assistant in Tinahely.