GARDAÍ arrested two men yesterday when they foiled an aggravated burglary and freed a couple aged in their late 60s.
Two other gang members managed to escape and a major search is underway.
Uniformed gardaí and detectives arrived at the couple’s home in Templeogue, south Dublin, within minutes after being alerted by a quick-thinking neighbour.
There has been a rise in burglaries and aggravated burglaries – involving the use of a firearm or offensive weapons – in the last year.
In yesterday’s terrifying ordeal, a gang of four armed men wearing balaclavas forced their way into the couple’s home just before 10am. The couple – a man approaching 70 and his wife, thought to be aged 66 – were restrained with handcuffs.
Detectives are understood to be investigating the theory that the raiders suspected the man was an official in a golf club and thought he had access to club takings. But the man has retired and did not have club takings in the house.
However, the burglars did take a couple of thousand euro.
Gardaí said a firearm was used in the burglary, but it was not recovered at the scene, suggesting the escaped burglars took it away.
Apart from being of slim build, gardaí had no other description to give for the two. One of arrested men, aged 35, was taken to Rathmines Garda Station, while the other, aged 25, was taken to Terenure Garda Station. One is originally from Sean O’Casey Avenue, in Dublin’s north inner city, and is now living on the South Circular Road. The second man is living in lower Rathmines.
They are not considered serious criminals. They have a small number of convictions, namely for theft and assault.
They were detained under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939, which allows for 48 hours’ detention, which can be extended, on application to the court, for 24 hours.
Gardaí said the couple were “traumatised”, but physically unharmed.
The house was sealed off and a forensic examination is being carried out by the Garda Technical Bureau.
The Garda Air Support Unit assisted in yesterday’s search for the two burglars.
Anyone with information can contact Terenure Garda Station at 01 6666400 or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666111.
There was an 8% jump in burglary offences last year, rising to 26,793, from 26,684 in 2008.
Aggravated burglary offences rose even higher (12%), from 325 to 363. The figures for aggravated burglary in 2006 and 2007 were 284 and 255 respectively.
Aggravated burglary can attract a life sentence on conviction.
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