Bags with €1.1m of rings and watches found after robbery

Two holdall bags, containing over €1.1m worth of diamond rings and Rolex watches, were discovered under a bush on the banks of a lake in Galway city shortly after an armed robbery had taken place in a city centre jewellers, a trial in Galway heard today.

Members of the public assisted gardaí in catching two of four men arrested shortly before midday on February 11, 2015, in connection with a robbery which had taken place a short time earlier at Hartmann jewellers.

One of the four men, Irmantas Paulauskas, aged 38, pleaded not guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to the robbery of diamond rings and Rolex watches from Richard Hartmann, 29 William St, Galway, on February 11, 2015.

He also denied a second charge of having an imitation pistol with a silencer fitted, in his possession with intent to commit robbery on the same date.

Conor Fahy, prosecuting, told the jury Mr Hartmann was in his office upstairs at 10.42am, viewing the CCTV cameras when he saw men, wearing dark clothing, gloves and with their faces partially covered, enter the shop downstairs.

He heard a loud bang and dialled 999, alerting gardaí at Galway garda station to the robbery. Garda street cameras were trained on the front of the premises and the men were observed exiting the building 90 seconds later.

They were carrying two holdalls, which contained 16 trays of diamond rings, with each tray holding 13 rings, along with 32 Rolex watches, all worth €1,139,653.

Passersby noticed the men, walking quickly down Shop St.

Garda cameras tracked the men as they turned left onto Abbeygate St, heading towards Middle St. Det Sgt John McElroy and Det Gerry Carroll, who happened to be in the area, chased them.

Two members of the public helped the gardaí restrain two of the suspects at Middle St, after a violent struggle.

Mr Fahy told the jury that one of the two men caught at Middle St was the accused, and he advised jurors they need not be concerned with the other three men.

A lump hammer and one of two imitation guns used during the robbery, were found on the shop floor by gardaí afterwards, Mr Fahy said.

The second imitation firearm was found on the other man caught in Middle Street with the accused, he added.

The accused, Mr Fahy said, was wearing glasses and these glasses were found at Middle Street later on.

The trial continues tomorrow.


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