Woman arrested over Kerry post office raid

Gardaí continue search for third raider connected to Waterville robbery

 

Gardaí investigating an armed raid on a post office in south Kerry on Wednesday have arrested a woman for questioning.

The arrest comes as gardaí continue to search for a third raider involved in the hold-up and ramming of a garda car which resulted in two detectives being hospitalised.

Detectives arrested a woman in her 30s in Killarney at about 7pm on Thursday evening for questioning regarding the raid in which two armed and masked men held up the post office in Waterville at about 11.30am on Wednesday.

The woman was arrested at a house in Killarney and was brought to Killarney Garda station where she is being detained under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, which allows gardaí to hold suspects for up to seven days before they have to be released or charged.

Gardaí believe that the woman has information about the robbery which took place when the two raiders burst into the post office, smashed the security glass with an iron bar and threatened the two female staff on duty with a handgun, before making off with an amount of cash.

The raid happened shortly after there was a cash in transit delivery to the post office.

It is understood that they did not get the delivery of cash, but instead made off with a lesser amount, fleeing in a 99 Ford Ka which was parked outside.

The Ford Ka was later found abandoned and burned out behind a public house on the outskirts of the village.

Gardaí believe that the raiders exchanged cars at this location and drove off in a 03 D registered navy coloured Mazda, being driven by a third member of the gang.

Gardaí had been alerted to the incident, and because of the remoteness of Waterville on the Ring of Kerry, officers were deployed to intercept the raiders both on the Killorglin and Kenmare ends of the popular tourist route, as well as on a back road over the mountains via Ballaghisheen and Glencar.

Garda car rammed

Armed detectives from Killarney were manning a checkpoint at Beaufort on the Ballaghisheen road when the navy Mazda approached at speed and failing to heed calls to stop, it rammed the unmarked patrol car a number of times and the raiders pointed a handgun at the two officers.

The two officers, a male and female detective, both in their 30s, managed to free themselves from their car and fired three warning shots at the raiders who sped off in the navy Mazda. The car was later found abandoned and burnt out a short distance away at Ardrwaw.

Armed gardaí from Killarney and Tralee, supported by armed members of the Regional Support Unit from Limerick and Cork began a search of fields near where the Mazda was found burnt out.

They arrested two suspects, both in their 30s and from Killarney.

They were taken to Tralee and Killarney Garda stations for questioning while gardaí have continued searching for a third suspect and it is understood that gardaí are now following a definite line of inquiry in relation to him.

Nobody was injured in the actual robbery but both female members of staff are said to be very shaken and shocked while the two officers injured in the ramming of the unmarked patrol car was taken to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee but later discharged.

Forensic examinations

Garda technical experts have begun a series of forensic examinations including at the post office, the scene where the Ford Ka was found burned out, the scene of the rammed Garda car, the area where the Mazda was burned out and the scene where the men were arrested.

It is understood that both men are known to gardaí, but more for involvement in the drugs trade rather than robberies.

One line of inquiry that gardaí are examining is that the robbery may have been prompted by the need to pay off a drug debt.

Chief Supt Con Cadogan paid tribute to the people of South Kerry for their assistance to date, but appealed to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in Waterville in the hours or days prior to the robbery to contact the investigation team in Killarney on 064 6671160.