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Pensioner is robbed of over 25,000 in daylight robbery

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Pensioner is robbed of over 25,000 in daylight robbery thumbnailBrendan O'Neill

A ST Clare's Avenue pensioner has had his home robbed of a very significant sum of money in broad daylight.

Seventy-one-year-old Brendan O'Neill, who has lived on the Avenue for his entire life, explained to the Democrat that he left his home last Wednesday (April 4) at 9.30am to do some messages in the town.

Returning home three hours later, Brendan, who lives alone, was horrified to find that his front door had been busted open and his home trashed.

Some 22,000 in notes, up to 3,000 in coins and €150 were taken by the thieves. In addition, Brendan's bank card was stolen, and used to take out 150 from ATMs in both Banbridge and Kilkeel the same day.

The theft of the card may prove to be undoing of the robbers however, as Brendan understands that the banks involved have been able to generate photographs of the card being used.

"They wrecked the place completely," said Brendan.

"You wouldn't think it was possible to do the damage that they did. The door was lying open, it was bust open - I've had it fixed now.

"They must have spent two or three hours in here. I had money hid, and they found it - 22,000.

"They discovered that I had €100, and they took it too.

"But they found my Santander card, I think that there was two of them because the police have their photograph at the ATM machine. What Santander said was that they used it in Kilkeel and Banbridge."

Brendan feels certain that his house had been watched prior to the robbery, and that the thieves must have had a car to get away in, such was the weight of coins that he had collected in a canvas bag.

Although Brendan has been told that the picture of the thieves obtained from Santander will be put up on Facebook by police, he said that he doesn't hold out much hope of getting his money back. He also took a philosophical view of the theft, saying that he is just glad that they did not take anything of sentimental value from him.

"What can you do, when it's gone it's gone," said Brendan.

"I tell you what I'm more annoyed about, was that they violated the house. They pulled everything out, they wrecked everything and did all the rooms.

"I was sort of glad that they got the money, which can be replaced, but you couldn't replace some of the personal stuff I have.

"I would like the cops to find them. Because of the amount of money, they could come back again. But I will never keep money in the house again."

 We asked the PSNI for a comment on the incident but they had not responded at the time of going to press.

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