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Violent gang suspected of three armed robberies in 13 days


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The net is closing in on a violent gang who are suspected of a spate of violent crimes in Co Kildare.

Senior sources say that the latest incident linked to the three-man group of criminals happened at 7.30pm on Saturday when a convenience store was the subject of an armed robbery in Rathangan.

On that occasion a lone male entered the shop and threatened staff with a screwdriver before escaping with a three-figure cash sum.

The suspect had arrived and fled the scene in a blue VW Polo car and officers are investigating if that was the same vehicle that the gang had stolen during the robbery of a pizza delivery driver in Newbridge on Friday night.

The delivery driver had been lured to an address in the Co Kildare town when he was confronted by three men at least one of whom was armed with a knife.

He was assaulted by the thugs who stole his mobile phone, a small amount of cash and the car.

The delivery driver managed to run away from the criminals and went straight to the local garda station where he informed officers about what had happened.

“It was a very traumatic experience for this man who was only trying to do a night’s work,” a senior source said.

“Gardaí are investigating if his car was then used by the gang to carry out the armed shop robbery the following evening,” the source added.

The Polo car has not yet been recovered.

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Detailed garda investigations have established that the same gang may be responsible for the violent robbery of a taxi driver who brought three men from Naas to Newbridge on the evening of Sunday, November 7, before he was robbed of cash at St Dominic's Park in Newbridge.

The incident happened at 8.20pm that evening and gardaí have appealed for witnesses to come forward with information in all three cases.

In the first incident, the three males in dark clothing fled the scene after threatening, assaulting and robbing the taxi driver who is aged in his late 50s and suffered minor injuries.

As part of their investigation, officers have been trawling through CCTV footage related to all three incidents and have also carried out a full forensic examination of the taxi.

“Gardaí are hopeful of solving these crimes and all the indications are that they are linked. The sooner this crew are taken off the street, the better,” a senior source said.

The suspects are a grouping of local criminals who have multiple previous convictions for similar offences and are all understood to have severe drug problems with sources saying that they have been long-term targets for gardaí.

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