Sunday 20 January 2019

Gang steal €70,000 in 'Ocean's 11' style raid at amusement arcade

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Ken Foy

Gardaí are investigating if a "highly professional" Dublin crime gang are responsible for a €350,000 raid in a carefully orchestrated heist.

A major probe is under way into the robbery which saw an estimated €70,000 in cash stolen and a further €270,000 caused in damage to property.

The majority of the money taken was in the form of coins as a criminal gang struck Courtown Amusement Centre at Courtown Harbour, Co Wexford, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Officers are appealing for information about the "hugely planned" burglary.

"The cost of this particular crime is truly staggering. Gardaí believe this was a highly sophisticated job which had been planned for some time," a senior source said last night.

The Courtown plot has echoes of schemes used by George Clooney's thieves in the hugely popular 'Ocean's 11' franchise because the gang involved cut wires at an Eir phone site in the area at around 3.15am in order to disconnect the alarm system at the major amusement centre.

The ultimate effect of this was that hundreds of local residents were left without internet access for almost three days before it was restored to most premises on Monday evening.

While the dramatic events which led to the amusement centre being raided on Saturday morning have some similarities to the popular movie franchise, the raiders are understood to have used far less sophisticated techniques once they actually targeted the amusement centre.

"This business was completely and utterly destroyed once the gang tore down the shutters and forced in the doors of the amusement centre which is located at Ballinatray Lower in the village," a source said.

"The business contained dozens of slot machines which were literally smashed into bits - it is not yet known exactly what weapons were used to do this or how many gang members were involved in doing it.

"But there can be no doubt that it would have had to have been heavy duty weapons such as sledgehammers and a number of people must have been involved in this raid.

"The place was basically torn apart - every machine in the place was wrecked."

While no arrests have been made in the case, gardaí are investigating if a Dublin-based crime gang was responsible and specialist officers have been examining CCTV all week in an attempt to catch the raiders.

When contacted by the Irish Independent, management at Courtown Amusement Centre did not wish to comment on the matter.

The amusement centre has been in business for over 60 years and has had a number of different owners in that time period.

Irish Independent

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