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Saturday 21 April 2018

Terrifying tactic of tiger kidnappings can yield big results for criminals

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Eamon Dillon

TIGER kidnaps are so called after the tactic of stalking potential victims and then using hostages to force business people or bank managers to hand over cash.

The terrifying tactic was first used by the Provisional IRA and other paramilitaries during The Troubles.

The Northern Ireland Bank robbery by members of the IRA in which two bank workers and their families held hostage netted a staggering st£26 million in 2004.

A northside Dublin criminal Derek Murphy was the first ordinary criminal to use the technique in a bid to rob a restaurant in 2000.

A restaurant manager was forced to go to the Artane premises to get cash while her husband was held hostage at their home.

Murphy told his accomplice as he left: “If he tries anything funny, shoot him in the leg.”

Murphy was convicted after DNA found on a cigarette butt linked him to the scene of the crime.

Despite the risks tiger-robberies can yield big results for criminals compared to straight-forward armed hold-ups.

Two days before Christmas in 2008 a business man from County Kildare was the target of a tiger kidnap.

The security company director was forced to take €1.2 million from secure storage and hand it to the gang holding his wife and daughter.

The mother and daughter were released eight hours later at Grangecon, near Newcastle, Co Dublin.

It was a well-planned and executed robbery that spanned across three counties and even managed to thwart Garda surveillance.

In 2005 another well orchestrated tiger robbery netted €2.28 million for an armed gang in which a family were held hostage.

The family of cash van driver were held at gunpoint until the money was left at pub car park.

There have been a series of trials of various individuals accused of playing a role in that heist.

In February 2009 a Bank of Ireland official was forced to hand over €7.7 million while his girlfriend was held at gunpoint.

The spate of such tiger robberies between 2005 and 2010 sparked calls for tighter protocols to stop criminal gangs using the tactic.

Shopkeeper Joe McLaughlin, who was the target of a terrifying €100,000 tiger kidnap raid, previously told the how he was held hostage in February 2010.

During robbery his partner was held at gunpoint while he was ordered to collect cash.

It started as the postmaster returned home from an early morning walk with his dog.

 “I felt this metal object at the back of my head and a voice said ‘just go in and don’t press any panic buttons and alarms and you won’t get hurt’.”

“They wore ski masks and all you saw of any of them was their eyes.  Tess was coming out of the bathroom into the kitchen.  I will never forget the look of horror on her face,” he recalled

 “They were so cool and calm. It wasn’t their first time. They don’t stop at just one,” he said.

Last year armed Gardaí foiled a tiger kidnap gang who had targeted three women in a bid to rob a post office outlet at Sutton north Dublin thanks to safety protocols.

Shots were fired by officers during a dramatic car chase as a member of the gang was arrested in Malahide.

Earlier three women had been woken from their sleep and held hostage in the terrifying incident while the postmistress was taken to the premises at gun point where she handed over €80,000 in cash.

More than a dozen garda vehicles were involved in the operation backed up by the helicopter unit and all the cash was recovered.

The gang members waited until the time-lock on the safe opened and took the cash, however, gardaí were alerted to the incident and were able to respond in time.

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