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Hooded robbers return for new raids with crowbar and axe after hero owner sees off knife attack

A fearless shopowner chased a knife- wielding thief from his store but other shops in the town have not been so lucky.

The attempted robbery was the first of three in five days with each becoming more and more dangerous and gardai believe they may be linked.

Joe Murphy, the owner of Mell Stores in Drogheda, Co Louth, reacted instinctively when confronted by a crazed man wearing a balaclava and high-visibility jacket.

"He came running into the shop at 8.10pm, shouting and demanding money and my immediate reaction was to throw a few hits at him and chase him out of the shop" Joe said.

Scumbags

"I didn't even stop to think about what I was doing and just wanted him out of the shop.

"It was over very quickly -- I'd say it only lasted a matter of minutes, but half an hour later, what happened hit me and I felt a little shaky.

"You try and protect yourself and your property, but there a lot of scumbags around."

The petrified thief dropped the knife and a bag containing a hoody as he fled in fear.

Gardai are appealing to witnesses to the incident to come forward. The assailant is described as being 5ft 8ins, with a slim build, dark hair and he spoke with an Irish accent.

Gardai are also investigating whether the man was involved in two other robberies which took place in the following five days and had the same modus operandi.

"In each of the three robberies the thieves were wearing latex gloves, all of the the incidents took place between 8pm and 10pm in the evening and were similar in nature" said a garda spokesperson

Shaken by his confrontation with Joe, it is believed that the man enlisted the help of an associate and used more intimidating weapons in the subsequent robberies.

On January 18 at 9.35pm, the Londis convenience store on the Dublin Road, Drogheda was attacked by two raiders, one was brandishing a crowbar.

The manager of the store was shaken by the incident and claimed that the situation in Drogheda was getting out of control.

Axe

"We just stood by and left them at it, to be honest they didn't get much but for the girl that was working with me and there were two customers in the shop at the time and they were all pretty shook," he said.

"It's happening all over the place there have been three or four in the last couple of weeks.

"We're on the Dublin Road and it's too easy for them to get away."

The third robbery took place at the Mace Supermarket in the village of Tullyallen just northwest of Drogheda, when two culprits entered the store at 8.04pm and held up the store using an axe.

hnews@herald.ie


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