A NOTORIOUS female pick-pocket gang boss who leads a group of street thugs involved in organised thefts and muggings has been busted by gardai.
The French woman, who claims to be a language teacher, was arrested after she was caught trying to pickpocket in Dublin's Mercantile pub late on Saturday night.
The suspect, who remains in custody today, has been a target of Operation Aughrim -- the special garda investigation against street crime.
Sources say that she has been based in Ireland for less than a year, having travelled to Dublin from England where she built up dozens of previous convictions for similar offences.
Since her arrival in the capital, she has come to the attention of officers from Pearse Street garda station who have mounted a number of surveillance operations against her.
A senior source said: "This woman is an absolute menace and that is why Saturday's arrest is so significant. She was literally caught in the act of doing a dip in the pub."
Operation Aughrim, which is led by gardai from Pearse Street Station, has resulted in over 300 street thugs being arrested in a clampdown on the capital's street crime epidemic.
It was launched last June to target the main players behind the crimewave that has resulted in a spate of pickpockets and muggings across the capital over the past year.
The Operation involves a number of specific methods that members of the force have adopted to crack the crimewave.
One element involves swamping 'blackspot' areas in the city centre with up to 20 undercover officers at a time, particularly on weekends.
Gardai are also closely monitoring suspected thieves and building up "intelligence-based profiles" on key main players.
Raids are then launched on these suspects once a body of evidence has been built up.
Senior officers in Pearse Street and Store Street are also constantly updating detailed maps of the city which are focused exclusively on areas blighted by street crime.
A special focus has been given to combating muggings and assaults between 2-5am.