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Monday 27 March 2017

Donations flood in for victim of life-savings robbery

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A PENSIONER allegedly robbed of his life savings by a man posing as a garda has been inundated with donations and offers of help.

The 70-year-old had his life savings of €28,000 stolen at his Cork home last week.

And while gardai have since recovered a substantial sum of money -- almost €19,000 -- it remains unclear if this is connected to the June 26 incident.

Until the court makes a ruling on the recovered cash, it will remain classified as evidence and it may be up to three years before it is returned to its owner.

The retired brewery worker had withdrawn the cash from a financial institution a few days earlier as he was concerned about the financial crisis.

Two days after the alleged robbery, the man -- who attends Mass daily -- was due to fly to Medjugorje on pilgrimage.

The pensioner required hospital treatment for shock and was left fearful over how he would manage without his savings, according to neighbours.

Now, however, both gardai and community welfare groups have been astonished by the response to the pensioner's plight -- with offers of cash, weekend holidays and special home security installations being received.

Hearts

Chairman of the Cork Safety Forum, Tom Coleman, said the story had touched hearts nationwide.

"I think everyone was very upset by this poor man's story," he said. "I was talking to him this morning and he is still very distressed about the whole thing. But there are a lot of very good, decent people out there and they all want to do something for this man," he said.

Mr Coleman will act as a liaison for the hundreds of people who have contacted the gardai and media outlets desperate to help the pensioner.

Offers of help have ranged from donations of €100 to weekend hotel breaks to allow him to recover from his ordeal.

One woman who contacted the Irish Independent -- but remained anonymous -- said she was very upset by the man's ordeal.

"I just want to make a small gift to help alleviate some of his stress. Just something to try to cheer him up," she said.

Supt Con Cadogan said gardai have been inundated with people wanting to help the pensioner.

Gurranabraher station has also been contacted by garda groups who have offered to undertake fundraising activities to try to help him.

Irish Independent

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