Gerry Garvey, who lives in Pallasgreen in Limerick, was terrorised in his home on Monday night by four masked men who smashed through his patio door and threatened to shoot his teenage daughter.
The latest in a spate of rural robberies saw the gang force Mr Garvey’s wife, Anne, to open the safe and hand over about €4,000 before escaping through the glass panel they broke through at 9.40pm.
Mr Garvey, 51, said that his family’s ordeal was “short, sharp and very frightening”.
“They put a gun to my head as my daughter [aged 16] watched on,” he said. “They were threatening to kill me and I tried to stay as calm as I could in the circumstances and let them do what they wanted to do.”
Mr Garvey praised the work of the Garda rapid response team and the subsequent police work which has already seen two suspects put under arrest.
This happened after two men were stopped on Monday night when gardaí in a patrol car in Buttevant, Co Cork, became suspicious of two BMWs. Gardaí trailed one of the cars and, after it sped at 120kmh along a narrow road at Ballyellis, cornered the vehicle in a cul de sac.
A search of the car uncovered house-breaking equipment and a large sum of money. When the men were brought to Mallow Garda Station they were identified as known and mobile criminals. One is a 48-year-old from Clondalkin, Dublin 22, and the other is a 41-year-old from Knocknaheeny in Cork.
The men were charged in Mallow District Court in relation to speeding offences and arrested outside the same building on suspicion of taking part in the Pallasgreen robbery.
When the Garveys’ house was broken into the couple’s two sets of teenage twins, aged 14 and 16, were at home.
Mrs Garvey said she was told to open the safe knowing that her husband and children were downstairs at the mercy of men wielding a sawn-off shotgun and a sledgehammer.
“I was upstairs and Gerry was in the kitchen. They were shouting and threatening and said they were going to kill [my daughter].
“They put handcuffs on Gerry and shoved him to the ground while one of them put the sawn-off shotgun to his temple. They wanted money and said if they did not get it they would shoot Gerry,” she said.