Gang robs post office by breaking down wall

 

A GANG has stolen the contents of a safe from a busy city-centre post office after spending a number of days chipping through the wall of a vacant hotel next door.

The gang member who stole the money waited until the post office safe was open before bursting through the last section of wall yesterday morning and taking the money as the stunned postmistress looked on.

The post office, on Ormond Quay in Dublin’s north inner city, was due to close down next week.

Garda sources said they believed at least three men were involved and that the gang may have been chipping away at the wall between the post office and the Ormond Hotel for up to a week.

The alarm was raised at 9.30am, just after the gang had escaped with €18,000. Garda sources said that, given the level of planning, the gang probably believed there was a lot more money in the safe.

Gardaí are working on the theory that the men had been secretly entering and leaving the boarded-up hotel for at least a week. Having chipped away one section of the wall between the hotel and post office, apart from a slab of partition plasterboard, the gang waited behind the wall yesterday for the postmistress.

It appears that when they heard the safe in the post office being opened, or saw it being opened through a peephole, one of the men kicked through the plasterboard and entered the post office.

He then walked up to the open safe, grabbed the bag of money inside and walked out through the door to two accomplices waiting outside on motorbikes, before being driven on one of the bikes in the direction of Smithfield.

Gardaí do not believe the man who entered the post office was armed. Sources said he did not act violently and, by coming through the wall, appeared to have stunned the postmistress, deterring her from trying to stop the robbery.

A number of witnesses have told gardaí they saw two or three men in high-visibility jackets on the street outside the post office and the hotel just after 8am yesterday. Gardaí believe these were the raiders and that they had dressed in disguise to pass themselves off as workmen entering and leaving the boarded-up hotel.

Other witnesses said that after 9am they saw a number of men dressed in leather motorcycle gear outside the hotel. Gardaí believe the men had changed into their motorcycle gear when they knew their accomplice was about to kick through the wall.

The post office and the hotel, which has been boarded up for many years, were sealed off by gardaí and examined by members of the Garda Technical Bureau yesterday. Gardaí are also studying CCTV footage from cameras in the area to try to establish in which direction the gang escaped after driving towards Smithfield.