Knife-wielding thieves rob €10k from couple in car scam
A YOUNG couple were held at knifepoint and robbed of €10,000 as they waited in a car park to pay for a Ford Focus they had bought by phone.
The couple had spent time searching websites before they discovered what they believed to be a great deal.
They contacted the owner, whom they believed to be a pregnant mother of three, by phone and arranged to meet in the car park, near a pub next to the Grand Canal in Athy, Co Kildare.
The couple had been told there was a lot of interest in the car and, if they were keen, they should bring cash.
As they arrived, they phoned the number they had been given but the call was not answered.
Shortly afterwards, they received a text to get in touch.
The couple responded and waited for the seller.
Instead, they were confronted by two men, armed with knives and wearing balaclavas.
The robbers forced the couple to hand over the €10,000 and made off on foot along a pedestrian walkway by the canal toward Lennon's Bridge.
Gardai have launched a fresh appeal for help with their inquiries into the incident, which took place around 8.05pm on Monday, May 13.
The robbery will be highlighted on tonight's RTE 'Crimecall' programme, when gardai will seek witnesses who spotted either the young couple in their Citroen or the two suspects at Upper William Street.
Officers also want to talk to anybody who might have seen the men as they ran toward Lennon's Bridge.
One of the raiders is described as 5ft 8in to 6ft tall, in early to mid 20s, and skinny.
The second man is said to be 5ft 9in to 6ft tall, pale skinned, and wearing a black hoodie and a black scarf covering his face.
Det Garda William Saunderson, who is attached to the stolen motor vehicle investigation unit at Harcourt Square, said people often chose to buy cars privately rather than going to a dealership as they believe they will get a better deal.
The risk in buying privately, he pointed out, was that the inherent consumer protections would not be available to you.
"While a number of the adverts on the internet are genuine, in some of the scams we have seen recently sellers will tell the buyer a story to encourage them to buy the vehicle.
"They say they want to buy a bigger car because they have increased the size of their family, or intend to emigrate," he added.
Gda Saunderson asked potential buyers to be aware that some mobile phones were not traceable and should be suspicious if the seller only wanted to engage by text.
He suggested that a meeting be arranged somewhere public, well lit and covered by CCTV.
He said these type of incidents were on the increase. He advised that buyers never deal in cash.