Friday 18 January 2019

Mugger robbing prostitute's clients before calling their wives on stolen phones

Gardai carried out the operation in Longford this morning
Gardai carried out the operation in Longford this morning
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

GARDAI are on high alert for a dangerous young criminal who is the chief suspect in several armed robberies targeting the clients of prostitutes in the city centre.

The vicious criminal has also been calling the victims’ wives on stolen mobile phones and forced one young victim to beg for his life in a knifepoint robbery.

Detectives suspect that the same 22-year-old criminal is responsible for up to seven robberies in which men have been attacked after leaving a brothel in the north inner city.

Only three of the incidents have been reported, but garda investigations have established that up to four more similar armed robberies have been carried out.

In late February, an Irishman in his 50s was targeted near Wolfe Tone Street in a knifepoint robbery.

His phone and wallet are understood to have been stolen during the incident.

The next attack took place on March 8, when a Chinese man in his 40s was robbed by the same thug.

On that occasion, the robber rang the victim’s wife after stealing his phone and informed her that her spouse had visited a brothel. He then fled the scene with the stolen items, which have not been recovered.

Just over a week later, a Brazilian man in his mid-20s was robbed in a frightening ordeal during which he was forced to his knees and pleaded for his life.

In that incident, the mugger held knives to the victim’s throat while stealing his mobile phone and wallet.

While all of the robberies took place after the victims left the same brothel, the prostitutes operating out of the apartment are not suspected of any involvement in the thefts.

The incidents first came to light after the prostitutes contacted gardai through Operation Quest, an initiative targeting the organisation of prostitution in the capital.

A senior source told the Herald that most of the incidents had not been reported, while there was also a reluctance from complainants to proceed with a prosecution.

“Given the circumstances – where you have men being robbed after leaving a brothel – naturally there is a fear to come forward,” the source said.

“However, there is concern that the suspect is escalating to a level where someone will suffer serious injuries.”

Gardai suspect that up to seven robberies have been carried out by the same thug.

On at least one occasion he threatened to contact a newspaper and expose the prostitutes’ clients, which gardai believe was an attempt at further extorting the robbery victims.

Detectives at Store Street Garda Station have identified a chief suspect in the case, who they are convinced was behind all of the knifepoint robberies.

The suspect is a young thug from the north inner city who is well-known to gardai and has more than 50 previous convictions.

He was previously convicted of threatening to kill his ex-partner, and is known as a prolific bag snatcher in the city centre.

However, the source said that the robberies of prostitutes’ clients was a serious escalation.

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