September 23, 2022

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A 94-year-old woman and her two sons were victims of an aggravated burglary in Co Roscommon early on Monday morning.

A man in his 60s suffered a minor injury and a small sum of cash was stolen when a gang of men, some armed with implements including screwdrivers, entered a business premises, with home attached, in Ballintober, Co Roscommon, in the early hours of Monday.

It is understood that the victims, who were left deeply traumatised by the incident, were kept hostage in one room of the house while the building was ransacked.

“The incident occurred at a business premises and one man — mid 60s — was injured during the incident. He did not require medical attention and his injuries are non-life threating,” the Garda said, adding a “small sum of cash” was taken.

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who was in the vicinity of Ashpark, Ballintober, between 10pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday to contact investigating gardaí at Castlerea Garda station.

“Any road users who were in the area and who may have camera — including dash cam — footage is asked to make this available to gardaí,” the Garda said in a statement.

An aggravated burglary is one where a weapon or the threat of a weapon is used. There were 233 such crimes recorded in the Republic last year, 293 in 2020 and 275 in 2019.

Overall, burglary rates — aggravated and non-aggravated — have been in decline in recent years. There were 28,500 burglaries recorded in 2012, down to 16,800 in 2019. In 2020 and 2021 — when most crimes plummeted due to the pandemic — some 10,900 and 8,600 burglaries were recorded.

Burglaries began to increase, along with other crime types, in the first six months of this year with the lifting of pandemic restrictions. However, the burglary rate in the first six months of this year was still almost 40 per cent lower than in the same period of 2019.

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