Sunday 18 March 2018

Chief suspect in airport heist is linked to 12 previous tiger kidnappings

The van involved in the terrifying tiger kidnapping is caught on CCTV as events unfolded on Thursday morning
The van involved in the terrifying tiger kidnapping is caught on CCTV as events unfolded on Thursday morning

Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

The chief suspect who gardai believe masterminded this week's €225,000 Dublin Airport heist is also believed to behind 12 tiger kidnappings.

The criminal is a 37-year-old man who received military training in Bulgaria by special forces over a decade ago.

It has since emerged that the GSLS cash in transit employees were due to collect up to £10m from a London flight after the mobsters fled with the far lesser cash sum in the nearby airport business park.

A security guard's partner and her daughter were held hostage in a van after a gang of three entered their home in Artane, north Dublin on Wednesday night.

They are recovering from their ordeal.

The criminal behind the raid has links to an international criminal network and is said to harbour a deep hatred of prison after spending a few months on remand in 2012.

Since his release from prison over three years ago, he has been monitored by specialist garda units but the man has not been under constant surveillance.

The suspect is a close associate of on-the-run gangster Jeffrey Melvin (33) from Lucan in west Dublin. He disappeared three years ago while on bail for his alleged involvement in a January 2010 tiger raid in the capital.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued after Melvin failed to show up at court in June 2012.

This week's tiger kidnap was one of the most high-profile crimes of the year.

Yesterday, the targeted company GSLS said its primary concern at this time is for the well-being of the employee and his family.

In a statement, the company said it implemented best-in-class procedures and training for its cash-in-transit operations; and has signed up to and abides by the Private Security Authority's code of practice for cash-in-transit firms.


Yesterday, it was revealed the terrified cash-in-transit worker handed an airport worker a note begging for help after handing over the €225,000 to the culprits behind the heist.

"On the back was a handwritten note describing how the security worker's family was being held hostage and that he was the victim of a robbery.

"It was a cry for help, and he asked the worker to call the police," a source said.

"It is understood that after this happened the worker then locked himself into a security van with two other employees who had been waiting for him for another job.

They then waited for a number of minutes as armed gardai arrived, cautiously approaching the van and freeing them.

While this took place, the gang made their escape from the area.

Last night gardai issued a renewed public appeal in connection to the robbery which led to a security alert in Dublin Airport.

The appeal focusses on two vehicles used - a white box type Ford Transit van and a silver Volkswagen Caddy van.

Gardai issued a still from CCTV footage taken during the incident which shows the white van. This vehicle was parked near Corballis Road Business Park, Dublin Airport, between 7am and 8.30am on Thursday and has a partial registration number 12 D.

In relation to the Volkswagen Caddy van, which has a partial registration number 09 D, gardai are keen to speak to anybody who may have noticed this vehicle at Gracefield Road, Artane, and Chestnut Grove in Dunboyne. This van was stolen from Glasnevin Avenue in Dublin on the night of October 29th/30th. It was fitted with false number plates matching a similar VW Caddy van.

Gardai in Coolock are investigating and no arrests have been made.

Irish Independent

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