A BRAVE shopkeeper wrestled “a very real looking” handgun from an armed intruder, who then dropped his bag of loot and was chased down city streets on Dublin’s northside.
The owner of the Drumcondra shop, Peter Davy, said he made the split second decision after the would-be robber demanded he fill a bag full of cigarette packets, having already snatched cash and coins from the till.
Last night a teenager, believed to be from Lithuania, was in garda custody after he was arrested by officers who had been patrolling in the area of the Londis store on St Ita’s Road.
The incident occurred shortly after 4pm when a juvenile, wearing a balaclava and dark clothing and brandishing a handgun, burst into the store, threatening the cashier and demanding the cash.
Mr Davy told the Herald he allowed the man to take the money but when the thief then had the cheek to demand the shopkeeper empty his cigarette machine in another sack, he “had enough”.
“When he asked for the cigarettes, the gun was pointed directly at me. I thought there’s a 50pc chance it’s not real anyway. At that point I was just fed up with it so I tried to grab it off him,” he explained.
“There was a bit of a tussle and then I managed to get it off him. He had dropped the money at that stage and just ran out the shop. Then I went out after him.
“I usually keep a knife by the till but it just so happened that I had moved it earlier in the day,” he said.
Mr Davy and a friend from a nearby shop attempted to pursue the assailant but lost sight of him in the winding streets.
A short time later, an unmarked patrol car containing two gardai from Mountjoy Garda Station's Crime Resource Unit came across the situation.
Sources say one officer got out of the car and attempted to follow the suspect on foot and a chase happened through St Patrick's teacher training college, which was witnessed by dozens of students.
Meanwhile, the other garda drove into Drumcondra village, where he observed the suspect acting suspiciously outside a local pub.
The garda got out of his car and after a brief struggle, the teenager was restrained with some help from members of the public and arrested.
All the cash stolen in the raid was recovered and the “very real looking” replica handgun was being examined last night.
Mr Davy, who has owned the popular corner shop for over a decade, said a number of shops had been robbed in the previous year. He had called a local meeting in an effort to tackle the problem head on.
It is understood that the suspect has an address in Finglas. He is likely to face charges as early as today.
A senior garda source said: “These two officers reacted very well to what was a very fluid situation.”