Armed gardaí had been in pursuit of a Co Limerick businessman when he carried out an armed raid on a filling station near Limerick City on Monday last, the Irish Examiner has learned.
The businessman, aged 49, who lives in the Adare area, was still under arrest in Limerick last night in connection with a spate of armed hold ups carried out in recent weeks.
He was arrested during an attempted raid at around 7.15pm on the Gala foodstore, at Larkin’s Cross, Ardnacrusha, on the outskirts of Limerick City.
Earlier that day, gardaí in Newcastle West had linked the suspect to another recent service station robbery near the town on the Rathkeale road. An alert had been put out on the suspect and his car.
A source said: “A garda in Newcastle West identified the suspect after seeing CCTV from a number of robberies and, by Monday, an alert was put out for him and his car which was spotted travelling out of Limerick City towards Ardnacrusha.
“Armed gardaí went in pursuit and came on him as he was carrying out the raid at Larkin’s Cross.”
The man is reportedly being questioned in relation to up to eight armed robberies in recent weeks at service stations in Cork City, Mallow, Middleton, and other locations in counties Limerick, Tipperary, and Clare.
The suspect is described as a respectable businessman.
Meanwhile, a fifth man has been arrested in a major garda crackdown on a Co Limerick crime gang suspected of causing more than €200,000 damage to three farms near Doon, where haysheds had been set alight.
Gardaí believe the arson attacks had been linked to the burglary on August 27, when bachelor John O’Donoghue, aged 62, collapsed and died when he tried to confront two raiders running from his house.
Two men had been arrested shortly after the burglary.
However, after a separate incident in which a stables was burnt down on September 28, a farmer’s hayshed in Doon was targeted that night. Two more were burnt down on October 5 and October 6. As well as huge amounts of hay being destroyed, a number cattle perished in one of the fires.
The five men in custody, meanwhile, are being questioned about the attacks on the three farms.
They have links to a Limerick city crime gang.
All five are being held in garda stations in Limerick City and Tipperary.
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