Bank raiders escape with substantial haul

August 17, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

The armed gang that robbed a Crossmaglen bank last Wednesday morning escaped with a substantial amount of cash, police have said.

Around 10.15am a member of staff who was carrying out a cash-in-transit delivery at the Northern Bank branch in Cardinal Ó Fiaich Square was approached by two men brandishing guns.

One of the men snatched the cash box and then demanded money from a teller.  The second man kept watch from the doorway of the building.  It’s believed the pair made their getaway in a blue Vectra car.

The first man is described as being between 30 and 40 years old, about 5ft 6in tall, of medium build and was wearing white trainers, dark clothing, a hi-visibility jacket, red wig, baseball cap and had a scarf covering his face.

The second man is described as being in his mid 20s, about 6ft tall, of medium build and was wearing a black, baseball cap, glasses, long sleeved grey top with blue horizontal stripes, navy trousers and a tan workman’s tool belt.  His face was also obscured with a scarf.

Police are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident or has information to contact them.

SDLP Crossmaglen councillor, Geraldine Donnelly, condemned the robbery.

“Not only is the robbery wrong, but the use of firearms brings a rather sinister element to this episode. People have the right to go about and work to pay the bills and not have the threat of armed robbers threatening them at their place of work,” she said.

Expressing relief that no one was injured, she added: “Relief is slowly giving way to a sense of anger, that two men could have the recklessness to bring firearms into a public area and threaten ordinary people just trying to work to pay the bills.  Children are off school at the moment and on their holidays.  There could easily have been children and young mothers in the bank.”

Sinn Féin councillor in Crossmaglen, Terry Hearty, voiced his condemnation at the raid.

“This is the second time this year that we have had to endure a bank robbery in Crossmaglen.  The Bank of Ireland had its ATM ripped out by a criminal gang in January and now this morning armed thieves have targeted the Northern Bank in the town.  These thieves have no regard for the people working in the banks or for the people of Crossmaglen and the surrounding areas who use the banking services provided by the Northern Bank,” he said.

Mr Hearty added that he is worried about the negative impact the raid may have on business and tourism in Crossmaglen, particularly as a group of American tourists were staying in the town at the time.

He urged anyone with information on the robbery to contact him or the police.