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Pitbull tears hand off thief escaping with €50k in cash

AN ARMOURED van robber who stole €50,000 was savaged by a Pitbull dog within minutes of the heist. The thief's hand was virtually ripped off when the raider tried to escape through a suburban Dublin garden.

Gardai giving chase were alerted by the man's screams and descended on the scene.

Officers had to use pepper spray to subdue the dog who was still ripping at the man's hand.

"The robber had his hand almost severed by the pitbull terrier," said a source today.

The bizarre drama unfolded at around 4pm on Tuesday when a cash-in-transit robbery took place outside the Superquinn supermarket at McKee Avenue in Finglas.

A security worker was walking to an ATM when an unarmed man in a balaclava approached the employee and simply grabbed the cash box from him before fleeing on foot.

It is understood that the raider then jumped into a getaway car that was waiting nearby but quickly got out of that vehicle.

Gardai had been alerted to the situation at this stage and the suspect was observed jumping through a number of gardens in the Virginia Drive estate.

However when he entered one garden, he was attacked by a pitbull terrier.

Pursuing gardai were alerted to the situation by the criminal's screams and quickly arrived in the garden where the dog continued to maul the man.

His agony only ended when officers used pepper spray on the pitbull to eventually subdue the dog.

Officers located the cash box nearby while the raider was rushed to hospital with severe hand injuries.

A source said: "His hand was literally hanging off him -- he required emergency surgery in the Mater Hospital where he remains today.

"There are still serious concerns that he will lose his hand."

"The pitbull survived the pepper spray and all the cash was recovered by gardai.

"It is expected that this man will face charges in relation to the raid at Superquinn."

The 41-year-old who is from the Finglas area is well known to gardai for burglary and drug offences. It is understood that he has been battling a heroin addiction for many years.

He was friendly with killer Mark Scally (37) from Glenties Drive, Finglas, who was jailed for life in October 1996 for the murder of a 27-year-old man who was stabbed to death outside The Cardiff Inn pub.

Sources say that gardai plan to arrest the pitbull 'victim' as soon as he is released from hospital.

He is the second Finglas criminal to be hospitalised because of their involvement in criminal activity in less than a week.

Last Thursday afternoon, a well known hood who specialises in stealing high powered cars to order was shot by a farmer in north Co Dublin.

"At least these two fellas are out of action for a while now. They have only themselves to blame," a source pointed out.