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Was €100,000 O'Connell St tiger kidnap an inside job?

A North county Dublin gang may have obtained inside information from Brinks Allied to commit the first tiger kidnapping of 2010.

Gardai investigating the theft of more than €100,000 at O'Connell Street and the kidnap of a nine-year- old girl and her 67-year-old grand-aunt have identified suspects.

Officers believe that the gang behind the robbery are based in north county Dublin. The suspects are understood to have been small-scale criminals and this week's raid represents their biggest organised crime to date. They have not been suspected of involvement in any major tiger kidnapping before this.

It is also believed that the outfit could have obtained information about the movements of Brinks Allied cash vans in the city centre from an inside source at the security company.

The gang was apparently aware of the movement's of the Brinks Allied vehicle last Monday morning, up to the point at which its drivers were approached by the target of the robbery, fellow driver Reggie Shannon, who told them that his cousin and mother had been kidnapped.

The innocent driver begged the men to give him cash to hand over to the thieves. A number of bags were given to him which he took in a van to a drop- off point in Drumcondra.

During the six-hour incident the two females were held by gang members at a location in Shankill. They were later freed, traumatised but unhurt.

Gardai believe it is highly unlikely that surveillance alone could have pinpointed the Brinks Allied vehicle which the man stopped at O'Connell Street.

A source said: "The theory that the gang obtained inside information is being examined. The precision with which this raid was carried out suggests that the outfit had specific information. This could apply to both the movements of the van and the innocent driver whose family were targeted."

Officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) have conducted a citywide trawl in the past 48 hours, in efforts to trace the gang.

At least three men, all armed, carried out the kidnapping, but gardai suspect that associates could have provided assistance to the gang, and may even have been in the O'Connell Street area supervising the dropoff.

The nine-year-old girl and 67-year old woman were interviewed by gardai yesterday.

Officers are continuing to appeal to the public for information on a white Renault Kangoo Van bearing the registration number 98D29588. This vehicle was driven by Mr Shannon and recovered in the Drumcondra area. The van was stolen in the Dublin area in December.

They are also seeking sightings of a silver Toyota Verso people carrier bearing the registration 05KE6457. This vehicle was used to carry the family of the security man, before being recovered at New Vale Crescent, Shankill, Co Dublin.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Irishtown Garda Station on 01 6669600, or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.