A nine-year-old girl and her elderly grand-aunt were held hostage by an armed gang for six hours yesterday during a tiger kidnap in Dublin.
The raiders set them free after making off with at least €140,000 in cash boxes from a Brinks Allied security van.
Four masked men burst into the home of Brinks Allied employee Reggie Shannon off Bath Avenue in Sandymount on the southside of Dublin shortly after 6am.
The security guard, who lived there with his mother who is in her 70s and his nine-year-old niece, was warned that he had to collect cash from his company or his family would be harmed.
He was instructed by the gang to take a white Renault van and drive to O'Connell Street to meet up with a Brinks Allied cash in transit van, which was making deliveries to banks around the capital.
Gardai said the gang appeared to have a lot of knowledge about the cash van's delivery run and was aware that it was due to transfer cash to the Bank of Ireland branch in the city's main thoroughfare.
The security guard was handed a mobile phone and told to await further instructions when he made contact with the Brinks crew. Senior staff at the Brinks depot where he worked became concerned when he did not arrive to begin his shift, but were unaware that a 'tiger' kidnapping was in progress.
The two captives were driven away from their home and held in another vehicle while the security guard was kept under watch as he arrived in O'Connell Street and spoke with the crew of the cash in transit van.
He told the crew about the kidnappers and was given a couple of cash boxes. As he was leaving, he told the crew not to make contact with their headquarters or the gardai for at least an hour.
But after he had driven off in the van, the company alerted the gardai at Store Street -- in accordance with protocols agreed between the Government, the gardai, financial institutions and security companies.
The security guard had been given further instructions to take the cash to the car park of the Skylon hotel in Drumcondra on the northside of the city.
He left the van with the money and the mobile phone inside and walked to the nearest DART station, as instructed by the gang, and headed to Bray.
Gardai investigating the kidnap and robbery said last night they were looking at a number of city-based gangs in connection with the crime.
Gardai are anxious to trace the movements of the two vehicles which were stolen in the past few days.
One was a white Renault Kangoo van, 98 D 29588 which was used to transport the Brinks Allied employee to O'Connell Street and which was later found abandoned in the hotel car park.
The second vehicle, a silver Toyota Verso people carrier, 05 KE 6457 was used to carry the terrified woman and young girl from the house in Bath Avenue.
Gardai are so far looking for at least three men said to have been involved in the kidnapping.
One was 5ft 5in tall and spoke with a "mild" Dublin accent. The second was about 5ft 11in tall, while the third was shorter with light brown hair.