'Clinical' car thefts in Mountmellick

A SPATE of car break-ins has prompted Mountmellick's Parish Priest warn his parishioners from the altar about the threat posed by a thief who appears to be more than just a smash and grab mercahant.

A SPATE of car break-ins has prompted Mountmellick's Parish Priest warn his parishioners from the altar about the threat posed by a thief who appears to be more than just a smash and grab mercahant.

The opportunistic thefts involve the use of a "little instrument" to break the windows and steal valuables from cars parked at the church and the graveyard. Fr Frances McNamara described the method as "a clinical operation". He decided to speak out recently following a particular incident near his home.

"A mother was collecting her children at the ICA hall, and in the space of five minutes, her handbag was taken," he told the Leinster Express.

He urged Massgoers not to leave valuables visible in their cars, in view of the significant number of car windows smashed. The targeting of cars parked at the cemetery, especially during funerals, was particularly "callous," the parish priest said.

Garda could not be contacted.