Public alert over ‘Friar Tuck’ thief

GARDAÍ fear a Limerick criminal may try to con cash out of people by pretending to be a monk.

A conman entering houses claiming to be anything from a doctor to a tradesman, in order to steal cash, is suspected of stealing a robe belonging to one of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who now work in Delmege Park in Moyross.

The robe was stolen from Corpus Christi Church in Moyross.

Sgt Liam Sheehan, head of crime prevention at Henry Street Garda Station, said: “The concern we have is that someone may use the robe to mislead people into making donations to charity and get into people’s homes, especially homes of the elderly.

“As we have seen over the last few months many different guises have been used by criminals to con elderly people to hand over money. We have had criminals pretending to be doctors, nurses, health board officials, ESB workers, revenue officials, priests and even gardaí. So it’s quite possible that someone could pretend to be a monk.”

The grey-hooded robe was laid out in the church to be collected by a local woman who had offered to carry out repairs.

Sgt Sheehan said: “We’re particularly worried because the monks are so well known and loved in Moyross that people might be even quicker to believe someone wearing a monk’s robe, if they’re asked for money. It’s very unusual in that we’ve never seen anything like this stolen before.

“But at the same time we’ve had a problem with people pretending to be someone else to con people out of money and gain entry to their homes. We can only hope that if we bring this to people’s attention they will be a little more cautious if they see someone suspicious claiming to be a monk at their door. Whoever is responsible for this should hand the robe back to its owners.”

Mayorstone gardaí who are investigating the theft can be contacted on 061-456980.

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