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Monday 18 December 2017

Gang holds woman hostage before fleeing with €50,000

Conor Kane and  Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A GANG of men armed with shotguns and crowbars held a bar manager hostage at her home before escaping with up to €50,000 in takings from a popular nightspot.

Aileen Julian was held captive by the robbers after they broke into her home in Carlow town early yesterday morning. They forced the victim to hand over her keys to the Med Bar before they carried out the raid.

Ms Julian was not injured in the incident but she was being comforted by friends and family last night and was said to be "extremely shaken".

Owner of the Med Bar, Laurence Murray, broke down in tears as he described his "shock" and "devastation" at what happened to his work colleague.

"I worked alongside her for the past 13 years. She is the most honest, hardworking, joyous person you could meet. I can't believe what she's after going through and I can only hope that this appalling crime won't change her."

The injured woman's ordeal began when she got home from work at about 3.45am after locking up the bar. It's believed that a gang of three or four men was waiting for her outside her home in a housing estate about 3km from the town centre on the Tullow Road.

They brought her into the house and made her hand over the keys to the Med Bar and also divulge information about the pub's safe and alarms, before leaving her in the house with at least one of the gang members.

According to gardai, the victim reported that her assailants were armed with shotguns and crowbars.

Burglary

The other members of the gang travelled into the town centre and made their way inside the pub where they were able to empty the contents of the safe.

Gardai would not comment on the amount stolen during the aggravated burglary, but it is understood to have been in the region of €50,000.

It's not known how they made their getaway or for exactly how long they held the victim, but the matter was reported to the gardai at about 6am yesterday.

"The investigation is at a very early stage," a garda spokesperson said.

Officers believe the raiders may have taken the bar manager's own car to drive to the Med Bar. They then stole the money before returning to the victim's house and making a getaway in their own vehicle.

Detectives are looking for information on any suspicious movements of the victim's car -- a red two-door Mercedes SLK with a 98-D-13978 registration -- in Carlow yesterday morning.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Tullow Road area between 3.45am and 6am, or at the Med Bar has been asked to contact gardai.

Irish Independent

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