A Longwood shop became the latest victim of a knife raider who struck again last Wednesday for the fifth time in recent weeks.
Gardai now believe that all five raids on stores in Longwood, Kentstown, Athboy, Robinstown and Kilmessan were carried out by the same man. In all cases, a man walked into the shops and threatened staff with a knife before making off with sums of cash.
The latest raid occurred at Giles's Shop in Longwood last Wednesday, 30th March, at around 10.45am. A lone male armed with a knife entered the shop, threatened the female staff member behind the counter and demanded money from the till.
A sum of cash was handed over and, as the raider left the store, he was confronted by a garda. A struggle ensued but the raider got away and, despite extensive searches of the area involving the Garda Air Support Unit, the Regional Response Unit and local Garda units, he was not found.
Gardai happened to be in the village at the time of the raid and customers alerted them to what was going on. One garda went to the front of the premises, while two went to the rear, expecting the man to leave that way.
However, the raider left via the front door but despite a struggle with the garda, managed to break free.
The man is described as 5' 9" in height and wore an improvised balaclava made from the sleeve of purple t-shirt with eyeholes cut out. He was also wearing black tracksuit bottoms with white stripes, white trainers and an army-style jacket. He is believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s and spoke with a Dublin accent. Anyone with information is asked to contact Longwood or Trim Garda Stations.
Gardai have confirmed that they believe all five raids in recent weeks have been carried out by the same perpetrator. Centra in Kilmessan was hit on Sunday 27th March; Londis in Kenstown on Wednesday 23rd March, Daybreak in Robinstown on 21st March, and Gala in Athboy on Tuesday 15th March.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident believed to be unconnected to the recent series of other knife robberies, a staff member and customer at a Trim bookmakers endured a frightening ordeal on Saturday morning after being tied up during a robbery on the premises.
Shortly after 10am, two males entered the Bruce Betting shop at Haggard Street, one of whom was armed with a breadknife and the other with an imitation firearm.
One of the men is described as being in his mid-20s, 5' 11" in height, of medium build and spoke with a Dublin accent. He wore a grey Adidas hoodie with three grey stripes on the sleeve and dark tracksuit bottoms, white trainers, and had a white scarf covering his face. He also wore what appeared to be latex gloves.
The man was armed with a bread knife with a six-inch blade and plastic handle. He threatened the employee on the premises and demanded that cash be handed over.
The second male is described as 5' 10" in height, of medium build and he was wearing a black balaclava, navy tracksuit bottoms, a grey hoodie with horizontal stripes across the body and 'Hilfiger' written across the front. He was also wearing black wool gloves.
The man was armed with what appeared to be an imitation firearm. He forced a customer and the employee into a corner behind the counter and tied their hands together with cable ties before both men left the premises. It is believed they made off with in the region of Ä2,000. Neither the male employee or male customer were injured but were shaken up by the ordeal.