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Shopkeeper fights off hammer wielding thug with a sweeping brush

An angry shopkeeper used a brush to take on a hammer-wielding raider -- and won.

The grocer was so frustrated by robbers targeting his Carlow store that he decided to fight back.

Damien Callinan, who owns Callinan's Foodstore, in Graiguecullen, and who has been the victim of repeated robberies, said he finally snapped.

The latest attempted robbery, which took place at 7.40am on Thursday, January 28, was caught on CCTV and showed the culprit escaping in fear when confronted.

Mr Callinan and a young female staff member were preparing the store for business when the hammer-wielding thug stormed into the shop demanding money.

"This guy came into the shop and start banging on the till demanding money with a hammer," said Mr Callinan.

"I was standing my ground but he would not go, so I reached for my sweeping brush and when he turned, hit him with it over the back of the head.

"He ran, but he'll be caught. Anyone that has ever tried to steal from my store has ended up being caught, it's just a matter of time."

The man was wearing a green hat and had his face covered as he entered the shop.

The young girl working in the shop was "shaken", but Mr Callinan said that at this stage "she's used to it".

Creeps

"All my staff are de-sensitised, I just tell them that if something like this happens, they should stand back and leave them at it.

"The fact that my employees don't fear these creeps anymore tells you the gravity of the problem."

In this case Mr Callinan decided not to stand back and the thief left empty-handed as a result. Mr Callinan, who has run the store for the past 10 years, told the Herald that his employees have been subjected to very violent ordeals.

"In one incident, a female employee was pulled across the counter and a knife was held to the back of her neck. These are the kind of people you are dealing with," he said.

Mr Callinan said that he does not believe the punishment for these crimes are strong enough and felt he had to take a stand himself.

"What can I do?" he asked. "You have no peace anymore. The two lads who robbed us a few years back are out and about, walking the streets. The lad who drove the getaway car got off on probation and didn't even lose his licence.

"It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. It's gone so bad it's a joke, but I'm not going to let them put me out of business.

"But then what are we supposed to do?

"Are we supposed to lie down and let them have it? It has to stop."

hnews@herald.ie


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