Man accused of jeweller robbery was wrestled to the ground by gardaí

Irmantas Paulauskas: Has pleaded not guilty to robbery.

A man who denies involvement in the armed robbery of over €1.1m worth of diamond rings and Rolex watches from a Galway city jewellers was wrestled to the ground a short distance from the scene by two gardaí who were assisted by three passersby, a trial heard today.

Irmantas Paulauskas, aged 38, has pleaded not guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery from Richard Hartmann, 29 William St, Galway, on February 11, 2015.

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

Det Sgt John McElroy told the jury he and Det Gerry Carroll were on Shop St when they were alerted that an armed robbery involving four suspects had taken place at Hartmann’s jewellers just up the street.

He noticed a member of the public walking briskly down Abbeygate St and he and his colleague ran after him. He then noticed three men ahead, turning right onto Middle St and he chased one of the men, pulling him to the ground.

He said he could see Det Carroll struggling with a man and while they swapped prisoners because he was stronger, three members of the public came to their aid and helped to hold them until more gardaí arrived.

Two of the suspects were arrested and were taken to Galway Garda Station, while the other two got away.

Det McElroy said the two men were searched and a valid Lithuanian identity card with the name “Irmantas Paulauskas”, was found on the accused. The second man dropped a imitation gun as he was being led into Galway station, the trial heard.

Three civilians, Christopher O’Brien, James Lohan, Ken Jackson, all gave evidence of helping the gardaí apprehend the suspects.

Mr Jackson told the trial he used his former army and navy training to grab one of the suspects and restrain him on the ground. He said it took all his strength to do so as the man was violently struggling to get away.

Mr Hartmann gave evidence earlier that he was scanning the security cameras in his shop upstairs in his office, when he saw four suspicious-looking men enter the premises.

He said he heard a loud bang and pressed the panic button and dialled 999.

He could see the men smash the glass doors to the window displays, while two of them had guns pointed at two female staff.

Both women told the jury the men all spoke with Eastern European accents.

He said they stole 16 trays, each containing 13 diamond rings worth in excess of €840,000, along with 32 Rolex watches worth €299,400.

The trial continues.


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