Gardai bust gang who used trackers to steal high end rental cars
Detectives have busted an Eastern European organised crime gang who were using tracker devices to steal high-end cars from a vehicle rental company at Dublin Airport.
Gardai have arrested the chief suspect in the high-tech thefts that saw 'high-end' cars targeted by the gang in a sophisticated scam that's rarely been used in this country.
Their modus operandi was to hire cars - typically top-of-the-range BMWs or Audis - from one of the firms operating at the airport.
"They would hire the car for a number of days and, during this time, they would clone the key and then place a tracker device on the vehicle before returning it," a senior source explained.
"The gang then waited for a period of around three or four weeks before sending a text message to the tracker unit to discover the exact location of the vehicle.
"They could then establish that the vehicle had been hired out again, simply go to the location where it was parked and use the cloned key to take the vehicle away."
The gang were described as "highly-organised" and a garda operation was put in place earlier this year, leading to the arrest of the chief suspect by the Stolen Motor Vehicle Unit.
The man was snared in the operation that also saw the recovery of four cars.
"This particular type of theft is rare in Ireland and has been much more prevalent in other European countries. The arrest, as well as the recovery of the cars, is being viewed as a good result," the source added.
Last month, the Herald revealed that just over 8,000 cars were stolen in Ireland last year .
Up to 40pc of these vehicles were not recovered, which means that they have been shipped to the UK, Eastern Europe and Africa - or stripped down here in 'chop shops' for parts.
It is estimated that there are around a dozen organised crimes gangs involved in the thefts across the country, between foreign and homegrown criminal groupings. Gardai have set up a number of covert operations targeting the car theft rings in recent months.