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Handbags snatched at Mass

Handbags snatched at ballindine Mass

Man appears in court after brazen theft in church

Michael Commins

GARDAÍ in Claremorris have asked people attending church ceremonies to be extra vigilant following an audacious theft during Mass in Ballindine Church on Sunday last. A handbag and purse were stolen from the seats while people queued for Holy Communion.
A man and a women had entered the church during the Mass and sat in the seats. While many were going to communion, they snatched the handbag and purse that had been left in separate seats by two parishioners.
The alarm was raised when the ladies returned to their seats. Fr Martin O’Connor, PP, immediately informed the congregation of the theft. Vigilant members of the congregation had noticed the strangers in their midst and a registration number plate was noted by an especially alert parishioner.
Later, garda apprehended a car carrying a man and two women in the Tuam area. The man, Paul Ward, with an address in London but formerly from Galway, appeared at Mullingar Court yesterday (Monday) charged with the theft from Ballindine Church. He was remanded in custody to appear before Harristown Court (Castlerea) on next Friday. The two women were released without charge and files are being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Fr Martin O’Connor said they were all deeply shocked that such a thing could happen while people were in a sacred and peaceful place attending Mass. He too urged vigilance and hoped that this was truly a once off occurrence that would not be repeated in the area again.
Both Fr O’Connor and the two parishioners who were victims of the theft joined in the words of thanks to the Garda Siochana in Claremorris and Tuam for their work on the case.

Suspected serious fraud
MEANWHILE, Two Pakistani nationals were arrested on Monday morning in the Bank of Ireland in Kiltimagh for a suspected serious fraud. Both individuals are currently being detained in Claremorris Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and are being questioned by detectives from Swinford and Claremorris. A full investigation is currently under way to discover the extent of the suspected fraud.