Sunday 19 November 2017

'I was terrified for my baby' - pregnant worker's horror as armed thug storms shop

Pregnant shop assistant Ineta Zelvyte outside Quinn’s Centra at Hampton Wood where the robbery happened. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Pregnant shop assistant Ineta Zelvyte outside Quinn’s Centra at Hampton Wood where the robbery happened. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A shop assistant who is six-months pregnant has told of her terror when a man wearing a balaclava and armed with a metal bar robbed the shop where she was working.

Ineta Zelvyte (33) had just opened the Centra store at Hampton Wood in Finglas when the raider came in and threatened her, after she had seen him behind her on a camera.

Speaking to the Irish Independent about her ordeal, she said she was terrified and shaking.

"I had just opened the shop with a worker from the deli counter and I was putting the alarm code in on the keypad when I noticed on the cameras this guy was behind me," she said.

"He had his face covered and he held up a big metal bar and said 'give me the money'. I just started screaming for him to leave me alone, that I had no money to give him," Ms Zelvyte, who is from Lithuania, said.

"I ran to an office and locked myself in and I pressed the panic button about 30 times.

"I was looking on the screens and I could see him directing the deli worker around and trying to force open the tills. There was no money in the tills because we had just opened.

"Then he was telling the deli worker to open a safe but he did not have the code," she added.

"He was using the big bar to try to open things but there was no point.

"But then he came to the door of the room I was locked into and he was trying to force it open with the bar.

"I was terrified for me and my baby. I was looking around for something to protect myself with and I was really scared.

"He tried about six or seven times to force open the door.

"It is wooden and I thought he might get through it, but he gave up and went to where the cigarettes are," Ms Zelvyte said.

"I was watching him on the screens all the time. I wasn't sure if the panic button had worked so I was trying to ring the gardaí too. I could see the guy filling two bags with cigarettes. He seemed to be choosy about which ones he wanted too - going for the most popular brands and looking around.

"I kept thinking, 'what will I do if he comes in', and I was worried for the deli guy too, because this guy had a big metal bar and he was searching all the time for money.

"That is when the gardaí arrived," said Ms Zelvyte.

"I could see the blue lights on the screens and the gardaí trying to open the door, which the raider had locked behind him.

"The gardaí were trying to break the glass with their batons and I couldn't open the door from where I was. I was helpless," Ms Zelvyte said.

"But they got the doors open somehow and came in and confronted the guy.

"I don't think he put up much of a struggle," she added.

The gardaí gained access to the shop and arrested a 43-year-old man who is due to appear in Blanchardstown District Court this morning.

He is from the nearby Ballymun area.

Ms Zelvyte remained in work despite being offered time off by her managers.

"I did not want to be sitting at home dwelling on it all," she said.

"It was terrifying but if I was at home thinking and thinking of it over and over again it would be worse. I thought it was better to keep busy," she added.

Irish Independent

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