Woman held prisoner by masked gang

A TERRIFIED woman was held prisoner by a gang of men in a brazen robbery that occurred in Cullahill on Monday night.

A TERRIFIED woman was held prisoner by a gang of men in a brazen robbery that occurred in Cullahill on Monday night.

The gang plundered the Topaz Service Station on the town’s main street by forcing the garage owner’s wife to allow them access.

The woman was alone in the family home adjacent to the petrol station when four masked and armed men struck at around 11pm. The men forced the woman to open the garage next door, where they proceeded to steal a large quantity of cigarettes and an amount of cash. After removing the goods, the men locked the woman back into her house and fled the scene. Though badly shaken by her ordeal, the woman phoned first her husband and then the local gardaí, who arrived at the house within minutes.

The investigation is being headed up by Inspector John Nolan at Abbeyleix Garda Station, who confirmed that the woman was “extremely traumatised” by the robbery. Inspector Nolan has told the Leinster Express that the masked men had Dublin accents and made their getaway in a dark or black Audi A4. Crime scene forensics are ongoing and CCTV is currently being studied, while house to house canvassing has taken place to determine if there are any local witnesses. Inspector Nolan urges anyone with any information on this incident to contact Abbeyleix Gardaí on 05787 31202.

The robbery was condemned by Charlie Flanagan TD, who said there is no place in our society for criminals such as this.

“This was a particularly vicious attack and it shows that our own community is not immune from terror,” Deputy Flanagan said. “I would urge everyone in the locality to report anything they may have seen to the guards. As a society, we must make it clear that there is no room for such people.”