TWO people have been arrested and two vehicles have been recovered following a crime spree across the city and county which left at least three women traumatised.
According to Gardaí, there were three burglaries in the city centre yesterday morning followed by three armed raids at shops around north and east Cork and two vehicles were also stolen in the city centre.
Two males were arrested and detained at the Bridewell in Cork City, under section four of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, following the crimes.
A senior Garda source said the spree started with a burglary in the early hours of the morning in Grange Vale in Douglas where a black Toyota Avensis was taken.
This vehicle, which has since been located by Gardaí, is thought to be linked to subsequent crimes at the Boothouse Bar and Restaurant in Upper Glanmire followed by another burglary in the area where a black Ford Kuga was taken.
“It is believed that vehicle was then used in three robberies, commencing at 7.45am and finishing at 9.45am," the garda source said.
Three shops were then robbed at knifepoint; Topaz Fermoy, Centra Watergrasshill and Glenmore Store, Knockraha, using the black Ford Kuga.
The owner of Centra Watergrasshill, Ken Ross, said he was in shock that a raid could happen.
“I have been open for 15 years and we never had an incident like this. I am shocked that something like this could happen and relieved that no one was hurt,” he said.
One of the men went into the shop and carried out an armed raid with a six-inch knife.
A girl working behind the till at the time is said to be extremely upset by the incident.
Next, the raiders went into the Centra shop in Watergrasshill. The man who entered the shop was described as “a skinny, scrawny, tall guy with a baseball cap on”.
He pulled out a knife and said: “I’m not f**king joking, give me the money from the till.”
According to the manager, Ian Forde, the rest of the staff were having a meeting at the time.
“The woman rang the bell a number of times in a frenzied way as the man was leaving the shop and we knew something was wrong.
“We came sprinting out and by the time we got there they were taking off in the black Ford Kuga.
“We missed them by about 10 seconds.”
The cashier was startled and taken aback and had to be sent home in shock. The shop had CCTV footage, which has been passed onto the gardaí.
Liam Ring, the owner of the third store hit, Glenmore Stores, said clearly someone went on a spree.
“We were the third place hit. My mother-in-law Marie Walsh was behind the counter, she is in her 60s. The man came in, pulled out a knife and took what he wanted from the till.
"She is a bit shaken after it. It is a bizarre thing to happen. It is so quiet here. At least we weren’t targeted, it would have been worse if that was the case. It seems to have been a random thing."
Mr Ring said he would be reviewing the security measures he has in his store.
“I will definitely be looking at it, but you don’t expect this type of thing at 9.45am on a Tuesday morning.”
The shop owner said he had passed on CCTV footage to the gardaí.
Locals in Fermoy were appalled by the incident.
Eddie Gunning said the robbery was extremely shocking. “You don’t expect it in your local area,” he said.
Mary Lonergan said she was angry about the crime that had occurred, adding: “I think all of these people, who are doing that, are not prepared to work. They want everything for nothing.”