Garda probe after man pulls knife on children before stealing their smartphones
Gardai are hunting for a criminal who threatened children with a large knife and stole cash and smart phones from them in a series of mean-spirited thefts in north Dublin.
The incidents happened at various locations in the Coolock area on Sunday night and sources say that a number of children have been left "deeply traumatised".
The man targeted children and students at locations in Macroom Avenue, the Malahide Road and Clare Hall shopping centre.
In the Macroom Avenue incident, the man "pulled a knife" on children as they came out of a shop and demanded that they empty their pockets.
The two children, who are aged just 13, were in a shop in the locality when the suspect approached them and then followed them out of the premises.
He followed them and forced the children to hand over their phones which have a combined value of €250 as well as a sum of cash on the road outside St Joseph's National School at around 11pm.
In another incident a short time later, he threatened a group of Italian students aged 16 and 17 at a bus stop in the Clare Hall area, close to the shopping centre.
At this stage, the thug was with a group of other youths who demanded that the students hand over their phones.
He threatened them with his knife and apart from taking phones, he stole a handbag belonging to a terrified girl who is understood to be visiting Ireland on holidays.
Gardai estimate that the combined value of what was stolen in this incident is more than €700.
And then, he struck again at the Malahide Road at 11.55pm on Sunday where he targeted another Italian male student who was walking on his own and pulled a knife on him.
He also had cash and a smart phone stolen from him.
The reckless crime spree is being investigated by Coolock gardai. No arrests have been made.
Sources say that CCTV has been obtained and reviewed by officers who are confident that the criminal is from the Darndale area and will be caught.
After the last robbery, he was seen fleeing in the direction of the Darndale area.