Black Friday: €75m cash raid fears as Christmas shopping rush begins
A major garda operation has been launched amid fears that criminal gangs are planning to target cash-in-transit vans in the run-up to Christmas.
Gardai are so concerned about the threat that they are protecting cash vans in parts of the city with patrol cars.
Cash in transit is in higher demand in the weeks before Christmas because ATMs are used more frequently.
Today is Black Friday and a massive pre-Christmas spending spree is expected as stores offer sales to mark the start of the festive shopping period.
With an extra €75m floating around in the weeks before Christmas alone, the Herald can reveal that the special garda operation is ongoing in “high-risk” areas of north Dublin.
In total, hundreds of million in extra cash will be circulating over the next four weeks.
As a result, gardai are also carrying out surveillance operations on gangs who are suspected of being involved in this type of crime.
“With so much cash floating around in the run-up to Christmas, gardai have had to take action in high-risk areas in relation to these deliveries and collections,” a source said.
The garda cash-in-transit operation comes against a backdrop of a major decrease in Tiger Kidnappings, with gardai having had major successes in jailing some of the main players in the lucrative crime.
Detectives have identified one gang in particular, which has made over €1m from half a dozen cash-in-transit robberies this year.
The latest incident happened in Charlestown Shopping Centre in Finglas last month when a G4S security employee was targeted as he was about to enter a special room behind an ATM to fill the machine.
He was confronted by a man in the shopping centre who grabbed a cash box containing€50k from him and fled the scene.
Gardai said a three-man gang was involved. A car used as a getaway vehicle for the robbery was later found on fire at nearby North City Business Park.
The same ATM has been targeted by gangs multiple times over the past five years.
No arrests have been made in the latest case but the Herald has learned that the room behind the ATM in Charlestown has now been “closed off” after a security review by gardai.
Cash delivery procedures have also changed.
The suspects for this raid are a north Dublin mob who are also the chief suspects for the theft of almost €190,000 from Blanchardstown Shopping Centre in January.
During that robbery, two men armed with a handgun and hammer threatened to kill two security guards in an underground car park as they brought money to an ATM.
The gang are also the chief suspects for a robbery last December when criminals used a fake cash-in-transit van to make off with more than €60,000 from a Dublin cash-and-carry before they crashed the vehicle and set it on fire.
The two criminals duped staff by pretending to be employees of G4S at the Merrywell Business Park in the Ballymount Industrial Estate.
One of the country’s most prolific cash-in-transit robbery gangs, they are also suspects for the robbery of €50,000 at the same Finglas shopping centre in March, which was almost a replica of last month’s crime.
The Herald previously revealed a major Traveller crime kingpin is being investigated for these raids.
The mob is one of a number working in a multi-million euro international car theft ring, in which cars are being stolen to order across Ireland then exported out of the country.
Gardai have established that dozens of high-end cars stolen over the past year have been moved out of the country hidden in ship containers underneath scrap, tyres and discarded computers.
Security companies use glue which mixes with dye in cash boxes in an attempt to foil ruthless cash-in-transit robberies. It works by releasing glue inside the cashbox when someone tries to open it. Should anyone try to recover the notes, the process will cause them to delaminate, rendering the notes unusable.
Gardai are on high-alert as Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas spend