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Elderly woman (71) is the suspected getaway driver for burglar gang


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GARDAÍ have arrested a 71-year-old bed and breakfast owner suspected of ferrying a gang of younger criminals across the country to carry out an aggravated burglary.

The female pensioner was arrested this week along with her younger associates as part of an investigation into a daylight break-in at a home in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

Last month's burglary happened about 2pm on Saturday, September 19, when a number of people broke into the private home in the Ballinea area.

The raiders then searched through the property and stole a number of personal items before taking the keys to the homeowner's car and driving off.

On Thursday, detectives carried out several searches in a Midlands town after identifying a number of suspects.

It's understood gardaí also seized items linked to the investigation that will now be examined.

The Irish Independent has learned that one of those who was in Garda custody was a 71-year-old woman who owns a bed and breakfast in a ­midlands town.

Detectives suspect the pensioner was involved in driving two younger associates to and from the scene of last month's aggravated burglary. They are now also investigating whether she played a similar role in any previous crimes carried out by the pair.

The two men, aged 28 and 45, are also from the same midlands town as their alleged pensioner accomplice and are well-known to local gardaí.

A source said: "These two lads are more known for drugs offences, but it's suspected that from time to time they carry out burglaries and robberies.

"It is a strange dynamic in that you have essentially three different (unrelated) generations suspected of involvement in this crime."

"They are all linked to the business that the woman runs and it is being looked at if she was essentially a getaway driver for this and any other burglaries," the source added.

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The three suspects were being held at Mullingar and Tullamore garda stations under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

A Garda spokeswoman said: "Gardaí attached to the Detective Branch in Mullingar carried out a number of searches in the Midlands, on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

"A woman, aged in her 70s, and two men, aged in their 40s and 20s, were arrested during the course of these searches."

On Saturday, all three people were released without charge.

A file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions in Relation.

Gardaí are continuing their appeal to the public for any information in relation to this matter.

"Anyone who was in the Ballinea area of Mullingar, or any person that availed of the car park facilities at the Royal Canal, Grange South Mullingar between 12pm and 2pm on Saturday, September 19, 2020, is asked to contact Mullingar garda station on 044 938 4000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station," the spokeswoman added.

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