The Willlows in Ballinteer was the third victim in a fortnight when two raiders entered the premises just before 1am recently armed with a handgun and a knife, escaping with €8,000 it’s believed, after tying up a staff member and threatening him. The Willows raid makes for three such robberies in the space of just two weeks.
While not going into specifics, the Gardai Press Office told Drinks Industry Ireland that the Willows raid had been recorded as an “aggravated burglary” when a member of staff locking up the premises was approached by two males with a gun and a knife and forced to re-open the pub. The pair demanded money, threatened the staff member and tied him up.
“CCTV is part of the investigation,” confirmed the Garda Press Officer, “But their faces were covered by scarves.”
According to a report in the Evening Herald recently and confirmed by the Garda Press Office, a botched armed raid on one pub, Ashton’s in Clonskeagh, was probably the work of a gang that had carried out at least one similar robbery in Dublin 4 in recent weeks. In this case two raiders armed with a gun and a knife and wearing balaclavas entered the premises at 2am on a Saturday after a busy evening, restraining two staff members with cable ties.
The pair threatened the staff and demanded money, but the pub’s sophisticated security system meant that no cash was available. Frustrated, the raiders made off with two bottles of vodka and two of the staff’s mobile phones.
The Gardai are understood to believe that the methods used in the latter two raids bore “striking similarities” to a 1am armed robbery earlier in the month at Bar 51 on Haddington Road in Ballsbridge where two raiders bagged €2,500 from a safe after entering the front door of the premises armed with a hand gun and knife “with their faces partially covered”. They threatened one staff member and cable tied both the staff and another person on the premises at the time.
“Major investigations are in place, but there are serious concerns that this crew will target another pub in south Dublin before too long,” a source told the Evening Herald.
“This is obviously a highly concerning development and terrifying for the owners and staff affected,” LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keefe told Drinks Industry Ireland, “It reflects the serious difficulties in working with cash in the night-time economy. We recognise that members pay a lot of attention to their cash-handling procedures and urge all members to review those procedures in light of this threat, as well as reviewing their wider security and CCTV facilities.”
Three men were arrested recently in connection with an unrelated incident at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney where, armed with a meat cleaver and pick, they were suspected of having stolen a cash register with around €1,000 in it from the reception area.