GARDAI were this week piecing together the movements of the armed raider who carried out a brazen ‘tiger’ kidnapping in Newcastle West on Tuesday, in which over €100,000 was stolen after the son of the local postmaster was taken hostage.
Tommy Kelleher, 25, was taken prisoner at gunpoint by a masked man at around 8.30am on Tuesday as he was about to open his family’s post office in the Market Yard.
He was found bound, gagged and tied up in the boot of his father’s BMW car in the Templegreen estate in the town almost eight hours later, after a female member of staff delivered a reported €105,000 to a wooded area between Carrigkerry and Athea.
News of the raid sent shockwaves through Newcastle West this week. Tommy, a popular young man who runs his own barbershop in the Market Yard, was unharmed in kidnapping but is understood to have been traumatised by his ordeal.
Detectives and senior gardai from Newcastle West and Limerick city held several meetings this Wednesday as a large scale investigation into the robbery got under way.
The victim’s parents, Tommy and Geraldine, as well as his younger siblings Ronan and Maeve were back in Newcastle West this Wednesday after returning from a wedding in Spain.
Tommy had been left in charge of the post office in his parents’ absence.
One of the most serious armed robberies in local living memory began on Tuesday morning when the armed and masked man confronted Tommy at the back of the premises at around 8.30am.
He was taken from the scene in his father’s black 2009 BMW vehicle and is understood to have been driven around rural West Limerick by his captor while a female member of staff was told to bring as much money as she could to a wooded area between Athea and Carrigkerry between 11am and midday.
It is believed that some level of conversation took place between the victim and his abductor while he was being held captive.
Gardai first received a report of the ‘tiger’ kidnapping at 3.45pm, and fifteen minutes later Tommy was found tied up in the boot of the BMW in the Templegreen estate on the outskirts of Newcastle West.
The vehicle itself was not damaged, and a full technical examination of the BMW was carried out on Tuesday afternoon in a bid to find crucial forensic evidence.
Both Tommy and the female member of staff were unhurt in the incident, but were described as being traumatised.