An infamous Rathkeale gang is suspected of robbing Michael Flatley’s rhino horn from under his nose at his Cork mansion on Monday.
Irish police suspect that the Limerick traveller gang connected with rhino horn thefts across the world are behind the latest robbery.
Flatley and his family were in their 18th Century Castlehyde House home when the thieves struck.
They fled with an African rhino horn worth over half a million dollars and other valuables collected by the "Lord of the Dance" star.
The Irish Independent reports that the four man gang was accidentally disturbed by the dancer at the sprawling north Cork property.
The report says police believe the robbery was not a random burglary, but the work of a Rathkeale-based gang who are also believed to be responsible for the theft of four rhino heads from Dublin’s National Museum last year.
Rhino horns are worth a fortune on Asia's black market where they are used for traditional medicines.
The dancer was uninjured, but is said to be shocked by the incident, which occurred while he was playing computer games with his son Michael, Jr. and wife Niamh.
The Irish Independent reports that Flatley heard a suspicious noise coming from one wing of his mansion, turned on the lights to investigate and was shocked to see dark-clothed figures running away across the lawn and driveway.
Police say a car then started up and drove away at speed towards the main Fermoy-Mallow road.
The dancer ran to check on his family and subsequently discovered that one wing of his house had been broken into and his safari room raided.
By the time he got back to the driveway the thieves had vanished.
Armed detectives were on the scene within minutes.
Police believe the thieves maintained surveillance on the property for some time and then entered at night when they mistakenly thought the house was unoccupied.
However, Flatley and his family had traveled back at short notice to spend a brief holiday in Cork from their London base.
Flatley was unavailable for comment, but was said to be "devastated and disgusted" by the robbery, though relieved no-one was hurt.
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