Robbers dupe priest to raid Parochial House safe

October 14, 2013

A Crossmaglen priest escaped unhurt during a brazen robbery of his parochial house home on Saturday afternoon.

Around 4.00pm Fr Liam McKinney answered his door to find two men who said they were seeking pastoral care from the priest.  Inviting the pair into the front office of the Newry Road premises, the priest quickly became suspicious as to their motives.

Speaking to The Examiner following the incident, Fr McKinney explained that as soon as the culprits had entered his home, he became uneasy about their behaviour, fearing the situation was not what it had initially appeared to be.

Far removed from seeking pastoral advice, the men became increasingly threatening and tampered with the parochial safe containing parish records.  It was at this stage the young priest, fearing for his safety, left the house to raise the alarm.

Before help could arrive, the intruders had made off with an undisclosed sum of cash.

This audacious robbery has shocked parishioners in the tight-knit community of Crossmaglen and represents a new low in tactics employed by robbers involved in a recent spate of burglaries in the area, particularly, in this case, preying on the charitable nature of a priest.

Fr McKinney was able to provide details about the thieves to the police, who are investigating the incident.

In the wake of the disturbing event, he has warned members of the community to be vigilant and aware of any suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood.

Sinn Fein Councillor Terry Hearty voiced his condemnation: “ I totally and utterly condemn this robbery.  A number of these daytime robberies have taken place over the last few months and, as a member of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), I call on anyone with any shred of information to contact the PSNI.

“The area of the parochial house would have been quite busy at this time of day and someone may have seen something suspicious.”