GARDAI have been forced to issue an appeal in parish newsletters urging Mass-goers not to leave valuables in their cars, after a number of vehicles were targeted in a series of smash-and-grab incidences on Sunday.
The vehicle of one of the victims of the Sunday morning crime spree was targeted as he attended his friend’s anniversary Mass at Patrickswell Church near Lough Gur.
“Mass was on at 10 o’clock but I didn’t go in until five past because I was running late. I got out at twenty-five past because my vehicle was parked in a way that I was obstructing other vehicles. When I came out my window was broken and there were four other windows of other cars broken as well within that 20 minute period,” explained Martin Cleary from Knockainey.
“When people go that low ... it’s awful annoying that people can’t go to Mass. Their houses are at risk when they are at Mass and now their cars are too,” he continued.
Items including sunglasses, a wallet and a phone were taken from the five vehicles which were all owned by local people. “I had a bag taken which they obviously thought was a computer bag but I had sports gear in it,” Mr Cleary explained.
“They didn’t take my jacket and I had money in it. I’d say they dropped the jacket and took the bag instead. The way they broke the glass there wouldn’t have been any fingerprints or anything. They would have had to have a hammer to smash the glass,” he added.
A further, similar incident took place in Herbertstown village at 10.30am on the same day while on Monday the vehicle of a couple from England who were visiting the grave of a relative in Cappamore cemetery was also targeted.
While no arrests have been made in relation to the incidences, gardai say they are following a line of enquiry.
Superintendent Alan Cunningham of Bruff garda station has appealed for information in relation to a black Saab car which was seen in the Cappamore area at the time.
Meanwhile, gardai were involved in a high speed chase in the Newport area on Monday involving a black Saab car and according to Supt Cunnningham they are investigating the possibility that the car in question is the same vehicle seen in Cappamore.
Following a meeting this week in relation to the incidences, the garda chief directed staff to contact parish priests in various towns and villages in the county to issue a warning in their parish newsletter about the threat to the vehicles of mass-goers.
“We are appealing for people to be extra vigilant when they park their cars expecially when they are going to Mass or are attending public meetings. People need to ensure that they don’t leave valuables particularly phones, Sat Navs or laptops or other items of value in view in their cars,” said Supt Cunningham.
The garda chief has appealed to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the areas of Lough Gur, Cappamore and Herbertstown in recent days, or who may have information in relation to the black Saab car to contact Bruff garda station on 061 382940.