IMAGES of the large white van used in the burglary of three businesses in Pomeroy have been shared the length and breadth of Ireland, in an effort to catch the culprits.
Believed to be the work of a professional gang with local knowledge, the van forced its way onto the premises of the Rowan Tree Centre in the village in the early hours of last Friday (June 15).
Three locally-owned small businesses – a car wash, a candle shop and a tyre repair business – were completely ransacked.
An entire store of tyres were loaded into the vehicle, along with high value power tools and every hand-made candle from the Sass and Boho store.
As the PSNI investigation continues into the burgalry blitz which has shocked the close-knit local community, the owner of Sass and Boho – Laura McNamee (pictured) harnessed the power of social media, when she posted a CCTV image of the van used by the criminals.
The photos which Laura published on Facebook, were shared over 700 times and have reached every corner of the country including Roscommon, Offally, Kerry, Ards Peninsula, Mayo, Tipperary, Meath, Donegal and Dublin.
Speaking to the Tyrone Herald, Laura revealed that it will be another month before her business will be able to trade.
“The impact of this has been devastating, the nature of our business, because of the time involved in making the candles – means that it could be five to six weeks until we are fully back up and running,” she said.
She hailed the response from the local community and her band of loyal customers who have rallied to show their support.
“We have had hundreds of messages from people who want to offer help in some way. We have customers who have been buying our candles from day one and they are offering to place pre-orders with so, so we are making our website live again so that orders can be placed.”
Despite the widespread coverage of the CCTV images of the white van, Laura believes that her stolen candles – worth tens of thousands of pounds, may have left Ireland.
“I doubt that they will try to sell them here, given there’s been so much publicity, they probably taken them to England to off-load them there.
“I don’t know how the police investigation is going, we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
The burglaries are the latest in a number of worrying crimes in the area.
In March of this year, the family-owned Connolly’s Service Station, was robbed, by a male, wearing a boiler suit and gloves, and just a few weeks earlier, Doyle’s Vivo in Creggan was similarly robbed by a masked man.