Wednesday 22 November 2017

Huge gardai manhunt ongoing as third suspect in armed post office raid may still have weapon

Gardai protect the scene at Waterville Post Office in County Kerry following a raid by three men on Tuesday
Gardai protect the scene at Waterville Post Office in County Kerry following a raid by three men on Tuesday
Billy Walsh, who tackled a post office raider. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Cathal McMahon and Ciara Treacy

Gardai are continuing their search this morning for a possible third suspect in the armed Post Office raid in Kerry who may still be in the possession of a weapon.

Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan told Morning Ireland that gardai have not recovered any weapon used and can’t rule out the possibility that an third suspect is still out there.

Liam Walsh, who tackled a post office raider
Liam Walsh, who tackled a post office raider

“We’re not ruling out the probability of a third person being involved directly or indirectly in the raid yesterday. Therefore we’re concentrating our search this morning in the Beaufort area that was protected overnight from gardai in Killarney,” Superintendent Cadogan said.

Some evidence has been recovered but gardai said they are still searching for a weapon that the two gardai were confronted with.

“We’re not ruling anything out at this stage. I’m appealing to local people out there to search their premises and land. We ask them to ring us immediately if they come across anything that might be of interest to the investigation.”

Over 30 gardai began searching the Beaufort area in Kerry this morning, a largely mountainous area.

Superintendent Cadogan said that the use of local text alerts and public information helped the gardai arrest two of the suspects quickly.

“We got tremendous support from all the people of south Kerry yesterday. We got numerous calls in. We made full use of our local texts to get information we were looking for,” he said.

The texts came in from the public and very quickly gardai received information of the vehicle that they were looking for.

“There was a change of vehicles and information was relayed out to the public again and as a result several calls were received in a very short space of time.”

As a result of the texting information from the public gardai were able to track the gang as they tried to make their getaway.

Kerry Radio was also used to get information out to the public quickly.

Superintendent Cadogan said it’s proof that the community, local media and gardai can work together in an investigation.

“I want to thank the people of south Kerry for that because numerous members of the public updated the gardai minute-by-minute. Everybody was very vigilant and kept a close eye out for anything strange and were very quick to call in.”

Gardai are appealing for anyone with information to contact them immediately.

Two men in their 30s are being quizzed by gardaí at Killarney and Tralee Garda stations.

Two gardaí are being treated in hospital after their car was rammed repeatedly by suspected armed Post Office raiders.

It is understood two men entered Waterville Post Office in Co Kerry at around 11.30am on yesterday.

The pair, brandishing a firearm, demanded cash before fleeing with just under €5,000.

They abandoned their Ford car in Waterville before transferring to a second vehicle.

A garda text alert was sent out across South Kerry and senior officers appeared on local radio appealing for help.

Around 40 minutes after the raid two garda detectives encountered a 03 D navy blue Mazda car around 50km away.

The suspected raiders rammed the garda vehicle - injuring a male and female officer.

Three warning shots were fired by the detectives and the Mazda fled the scene.

It ultimately crashed in the Beaufort area of Killarney before it was set on fire.

The suspected offenders fled to nearby fields on foot. Officers were able to track down the suspects who were hiding on farmland.

Meanwhile, gardaí in Kilkenny are investigating a separate Post Office raid in Mullinavat. A lone male raider in his 20s entered the Post Office with what was believed to be a firearm after midday yesterday.

Three local men, Billy and Liam Walsh and Fergal Tynan, were hailed as heroes after they stopped the man.

"I just ran straight away out the door [of the Post Office] and roared at your man," Billy told RTÉ. "As soon as I roared at him, he made a run for it."

Liam added that: "I tore off after [the raider] in the van anyway. He tripped, we jumped out of the van… and caught him. Weird enough, I never saw someone so casual after robbing somewhere."

The raider was then arrested by gardaí and brought to Thomastown Garda Station where he was being questioned under S30 Offences against the State Act.

Irish Independent

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