Tuesday 27 September 2016

Ex-Intel employee and friend arrested over bomb scare

Ken Foy Crime Correspondent

Published 02/04/2015 | 07:18

Intel staff outside after the bomb scare
Intel staff outside after the bomb scare
Intel in Leixlip, Kildare. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins
The scene at Intel on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Gardai have arrested two young men for the hoax bomb alert at the Intel plant in Co Kildare which is estimated to have cost the company millions of euro in lost production costs.

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The suspects, two Irish nationals aged 19 and 20, were picked up in a top secret operation on Friday at their homes in Balbriggan by detectives from Leixlip and Balbriggan Garda Stations.

The scene at Intel on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The scene at Intel on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

They were questioned for a number of hours before being released without charge. It has also emerged that the 20-year-old man was caught with over €600 worth of cannabis when gardai raided his home.

Read more here: Intel plant evacuated as dawn 'bomb threat' sparks security alert  

The man refused to comment when approached by the Herald at his home last night.

His younger pal is a disgruntled former employee of the computer chip maker who is understood to have been "let go" by the company who he worked for on a contract basis.

Sources have revealed the bizarre chain of events that led to the phone call being made to Intel at 5.30am on Tuesday, January 13.

Read more here: Intel 'bomb threat' caller claimed to be from ISIL  

"These lads were on a three-day bender and they decided to do this. They were clearly off their heads on booze and God knows what," a source said.

"They were identified within hours of the investigation from phone records and CCTV.

The scene at Intel on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Pic: Kyran O'Brien
The scene at Intel on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 Pic: Kyran O'Brien

"The arrest happened when gardai decided they had built up enough evidence, but clearly not enough to charge the fellas.

"It is believed the older individual, who has convictions for public order and drug offences, is the man who made the call. A file will now be sent to the DPP," a senior source explained.

The phone box on Bath Road in Balbriggan from which the call was made was identified and sealed off just hours after the call in an operation which involved the Crime and Security section of the gardai.

DNA samples were taken from the phone box and CCTV evidence was gathered.

The caller had claimed that 12 devices had been placed at various locations across the large complex in north Kildare, but in a subsequent search none were found.

The caller used an "Islamist term" when he made the call, but gardai were quickly satisfied that the call was not the work of Islamic terrorists and the army bomb disposal team was not called out to the plant.

However, the incident was still treated as a security alert and gardai and Intel's Emergency Response Team treated the threat seriously. They immediately evacuated the hundreds of staff who were already at work.

Intel employs approximately 4,000 people at its plant in Leixlip. A construction project was also taking place at the campus which had required a large number of contractors to be on site.

During the alert, staff were not allowed access to their vehicles and traffic around Leixlip and Intel was heavy as a result.

The emergency officially ended when no devices were found and employees returned to work just after 9am.

Intel said last year it has spent $5bn (€3.63bn) over the past three years upgrading its Leixlip plant.

The company recently applied for, and received, planning permission for a new plant to make a new line of processors.

kfoy@herald.ie

Herald

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