NewsCrime Desk

Gardai believe well-known Dublin criminal was behind tiger kidnapping

Crime DeskBy Sunday World
Armed Gardai at Dublin Airport yesterday
Armed Gardai at Dublin Airport yesterday

A massive manhunt continues for the kidnap gang who made off with around €225,000 yesterday, suspected to be led by a well-known Dublin criminal.

According to today's Herald, Gardai believe that the chief suspects for the well-planned crime are a mob led by a prolific Blanchardstown criminal, but a Coolock mob have also not been ruled out of enquiries.

Terrifying new details of the raid have also emerged.

The tiger kidnap victim, aged in his mid-50s, was shown a phone with pictures of his partner and her adult child being held at gunpoint.

Other details published today include:

  • Bleach may have been used in an attempt to destroy DNA evidence in the Artane home of the security employee;
  • The gang escaped while armed gardai focused on securing the security van which had terrified employees inside at Dublin Airport;
  • Gardai believe the family had been under surveillance for weeks and the crime planned for months.

The ordeal began at 8pm on Wednesday, when a three-man gang forced their way into the employee’s home in Artane. They held the family  for a number of hours before driving off with the man’s partner and daughter at around 5am.

The women were taken from their home at Gracefield Road in a silver VW Caddy van, which had a partial registration number 09D.

They were driven around for a number of hours before eventually parking up in Dunboyne, Co Meath.

The mother, who is aged in her 50s, and her daughter, who is aged in her 20s, were handcuffed and bound in the back of the van. It was abandoned at the Chestnut Grove estate in Dunboyne.

Gardai were alerted to their plight when a member of the public alerted them after hearing screams from inside.

Meanwhile, the security employee was forced to drive to Ballymount Industrial Estate on Dublin’s southside, where he collected around €225,000 from his company’s depot which was to be delivered to Dublin Airport.

While at Ballymount, it is understood the employee failed to use a designated password that would have let his employers know he had been the victim of a tiger kidnapping.

It is understood that he also was given a phone by the gang which contained photos of his terrified partner and daughter being held at gunpoint.

He was told his wife and daughter would be harmed if he tried to raise the alarm or refused to surrender the cash to the gang.

He then drove to Dublin Airport, where he was due to do a cash drop-off at Corballis Road Business Park at around 8.30am.

However, instead of this happening two raiders took the cash haul at this location and escaped.

The employee then drove a short distance to the airport and approached a worker who deals with allowing vehicles access.

The cash-in-transit worker said he was being watched and told the person to turn over the piece of paper to authorities.

“On the back was a handwritten note describing how the  security worker’s family was being held hostage and that he was the victim of a robbery.

“It was a cry for help, and he asked the worker to call the police,” a source said.

It is understood that after this happened the worker then locked himself into a security van with two other employees who had been waiting for him for another job.

They then waited for a number of minutes as armed gardai arrived, cautiously approaching the van and freed them.

It has emerged that the tiger kidnap victim and his two colleagues were due to collect a multi-million euro cash sum from a plane scheduled to arrive in Dublin from London.

This cash was due to be brought back to the company’s depot in Ballymount.

It is not known if the gang had planned to target the money from this flight as well and cut their losses with the €225,000.

Last night, gardai were investigating whether a notorious Blanchardstown-based criminal was behind yesterday’s robbery.

This criminal “mastermind” is the chief suspect in a number of tiger kidnappings and has been known to use bleach to forensically “clean” areas where he has committed crime. Gardai are investigating whether bleach was used in Artane.

Sources said last night that officers have also not ruled out involvement of the notorious “Mr Big” gang in Coolock either.

“What is not in doubt is that this was a well planned crime that involved weeks of surveillance,” a source said last night.

None of the victims have suffered physical injuries, but gardai said they were traumatised by the events. The investigation into the tiger kidnapping is being led by Coolock gardai and specialist garda units.

While three raiders were directly involved, gardai estimate that around a dozen criminals may have been involved. A major investigation is under way.

Supt Gerry Donnelly confirmed the raiders stayed in the family’s home overnight and then left with mother and daughter as hostages.

“They were masked, wearing ski masks and were wearing gloves. All were described as having Dublin accents.

“We understand one of the raiders may have been in possession of a handgun. We’re still in the process of interviewing the victims,” he said.