Gardaí are hunting a four-man gang who hijacked a white van in Co Limerick which was carrying cash and valuable car parts.
The van, with the UK registration licence plate number CU 16 TZR, was traveling in the Caherconlish area just before 3pm when it was hijacked by four men wearing balaclavas, garda sources said.
Gardaí said it was as yet unclear whether the men were armed.
The gang was traveling in a black coloured BMW Series 1 car, which remains at large.
Gardaí recovered the white van in Kilcoman, Co Tipperary shortly before 5pm but no cash was recovered.
The van was located through a built-in GPS tracking system that had previously been installed in the vehicle. Gardaí are hoping the GPS navigational system may be able to provide vital mapping evidence to allow them learn the exact movements of the van, where it travelled, and whether it made any pit-stops along its route after it was hijacked
Sources said the van had travelled to garages throughout the morning, delivering and collecting valuable car parts.
It is understood some of the expensive cargo on board included catalytic converters.
The Garda Air Support Unit is assisting the garda manhunt on the ground.
The gang are believed to have been following the van when they stopped it and removed the driver before taking the van.
The van was seen traveling in the direction of Monastery Road in Doon before it was eventually recovered in Co Tipperary.
“We got a call that a dark coloured BMW car had been taken against the owner’s will. We believe there was a sum of cash in the van. It happened in Caherconlish just before 3pm,” a source said.
The hunt for the gang and the gang’s BMW car is spread out across a number of Munster garda districts and gardaí are also monitoring the motorway network that would provide the gang with access to wider routes.
“There were four males in the BMW. They all had their faces covered,” sources added.
The driver of the van was not physically harmed but appeared to be shaken from the ordeal, sources added.
Superintendent John Ryan, Bruff Garda Station appealed for motorists to check “dash cam footage” particularly if they were traveling in the Caherconlish Doon and Kilcolman areas.
He also appealed for “anyone with CCTV footage covering the local road network” in the areas concerned, to also contact gardaí.
“I’m appealing for anybody who may have seen the (BMW) car and the van traveling in convoy in the Caherconlish area or saw any one of the two vehicles to contact Roxboro Road garda Station on 061-214340,” he added.