€27k 'not linked to earlier garda station thefts'
€40k gone missing in past five months
GARDAI are now satisfied that the disappearance of almost €27,500 from a garda station is not connected to two previous thefts of money in the same division.
Officers trying to establish how the money went missing from Malahide station in the Dublin North division are currently carrying out an audit trail of the cash.
The haul – the third to disappear since the start of the year – was being kept in a safe after it was recovered by gardai following a robbery at the Coolock branch of Woodies DIY in June 2009.
The raiders made off with almost €60,000 but only one robber's share of the money was retrieved by gardai.
Officers stored the money in the station as potential evidence, while two men were on trial at Dublin circuit court in connection with the robbery.
They are now trying to determine if it could have been mislaid or became mixed up with other items in a separate evidence bag and moved to another station.
But so far they have failed to find any trace of the cash and are now working backwards to pinpoint its whereabouts from the time it was lodged in the station.
One officer said: "At this stage we are examining all possible options to eliminate them before we contemplate that the money has been stolen and then this will turn into a criminal investigation."
Gardai did not realise that the cash was missing until Woodies sought the return of the money after the court case had been completed.
In February gardai discovered a discrepancy in a sum of money lodged in a safe at Balbriggan station. When the money left in the evidence bag in the strongroom was counted, officers realised that €9,000 was missing from the original amount of €26,000.
In April investigators arrested a garda over the €9,000 before releasing him without charge.
Officers are currently preparing a file on that incident for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
During the inquiries into its disappearance, gardai also discovered that a separate haul of €4,000 had gone missing from a locker at Balbriggan station.
It had been seized during a search for drugs in the area in 2009 and was being kept in a locker as further inquiries into the seizure were being carried out.
The third incident, disclosed in the Irish Independent on Saturday, means that more than €40,000 has gone missing from stations in the division over the past five months.