A spate of terrifying robberies in the capital's southside in the past 10 days may have been carried out by a thug who was out of prison on Christmas temporary release, the Herald can reveal.
Gardai in Dun Laoghaire are investigating at least five armed robberies linked to the suspect who used a hammer to terrorise staff in shops before escaping with relatively small amounts of cash.
In each case, the raider entered the shop with a hammer and threatened employees while a getaway driver in a silver estate car waited for him and then drove him away.
The duo first struck at the Centra at Barnhill Road in Dalkey at 2.30pm on Sunday, December 27, when the man armed with a hammer entered the shop.
"He held the weapon to a staff member and made off with a sum less than €200 from the till," a source explained.
On that occasion, he disguised himself with a scarf and wore a baseball cap and gardai believe the criminal is aged in either his late 20s or early 30s.
The pair struck again at 2.55pm last Tuesday when they escaped with a similar cash sum from the Xtra-Vision store at Glenageary.
For that crime, the raider wore a hoodie and a 'snood' and eye witnesses reported that there were no reg plates on the silver Peugeot estate car that drove him away.
Other shops that have been targeted by the hammer-wielding criminal since then include the Centra at Blackglen Road in Sandyford last Thursday afternoon and a Daybreak shop in the Barton Road, Churchtown on Sunday.
It is understood that at least two shops in Dun Laoghaire were also targeted by the criminals last week who brazenly parked outside the shops, waiting until the premises are quiet.