AN on-the-run burglar has fled and his rapist friend was in hiding last night after locals patrolled a town where residents are living in fear.
Joseph McCabe, who raped a pensioner, and Casey Morgan, described as a violence-prone burglar, have been living in west Donegal for the past fortnight.
Sources told the Herald that Morgan has now left the Dungloe/Burtonport area of west Donegal and was seen catching a bus to Dublin.
The 18-year-old is described by the PSNI as a violent offender with burglary convictions.
Both men are wanted in the North, with McCabe (29) accused of breaching the terms of his release after serving half of a 14-year jail term for the rape of a 64-year-old woman.
The Herald can also reveal that gardai are investigating whether McCabe and Morgan are the same two men who were stopped in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, two weeks ago by a garda patrol. They are alleged to have given officers false names.
McCabe is free on bail from Sligo court, where he faced charges of being in breach of sex offenders' register regulations. He is now in a 'safe house', according to sources.
Locals are taking turns to patrol the 6km stretch between Dungloe and Burtonport. There is anger over how a rapist wanted in the North is allowed to live in the area.
Gardai cannot arrest him until they receive a European Arrest Warrant from the PSNI.
McCabe and Morgan had been staying in a caravan before being moved by gardai last week. A steady stream of criminal friends from both Dublin and Belfast has visited them in west Donegal.
"It's like a crime festival," said one resident last night.
"There have been crowds of fellas getting off the bus from Dublin or arriving by car from Belfast to hang out with McCabe and Morgan.
"We saw Morgan get a bus to Dublin on Sunday night and we were glad to see the back of him," he said.
"Local people have had a number of meetings and we are taking turns to patrol the area."