A HIGHLY organised and vicious criminal gang got away with a significant amount of cash following a raid on one of the county’s best known GAA clubs in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Acting with military-like precision they pounced on the unsuspecting manager of the Piltown GAA Club pavilion just as he was locking up after a successful night at the club. At 1.46am four armed men came “from out of nowhere”, according to informed sources, and accosted the man as he was about to get into a car driven by his girlfriend who was collecting him from work.
The masked gang who appear to have been armed with at least two firearms and other weapons were familiar with the man’s movements and had obviously watched him in the weeks beforehand, and while he was not physically assaulted, he was manhandled back inside the building, had a gun aimed at his head and was forced to hand over the night’s takings, a four figure sum.
The gang who gardai believe have carried out similar crimes in the past, took some other items, including alcohol before dismantling the CCTV surveillance system to avoid any chance of detection. Once outside, they forced the terrified young woman out of the car and they drove off at high speed in the vehicle.
The car was found at Kilanaspic, Mooncoin, between three and four miles away and it believed they travelled left out of the GAA club on to the Templeorum road before turning on to the Bog Road and up to Kilanaspic. The car was burned out and obviously they made good their getaway in another vehicle.
Menacingly, this is the same area used as a getaway by an armed gang (with provisional IRA links) who raided an AIB cash depot in Lisduggan, Waterford in 1992 and got away with 2.1 million pounds. Gardai in Thomastown and Mooncoin are seeking the public’s assistance and want to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious at the GAA club on Saturday night or at Kilanaspic between 10pm and 2am.
The gang members are believed to be between 5’ 8’’ and 5’ 10’’ in height and all spoke with nondescript accents. One of them wore green wellingtons and another had his trousers inside his socks.
Officers would also like to hear from the public about any suspicious or unusual movements in the days and weeks leading up to the incident. Callers can ring Thomastown on 0567751450 or Mooncoin 051-895122 in the strictest confidence..