GARDAI are warning about a major increase in thefts in which criminals are staking out financial institutions and following customers who withdraw large amounts of cash from bank branches.
In one incident a businessman was targeted when he was followed from the AIB in Blanchardstown to Swords in north Co Dublin after he withdrew over €20,000 in cash from the bank.
It is understood that the man from Drogheda, Co Louth, placed the cash in an envelope in the glovebox of his car and left it there while meeting a customer in Swords Manor.
A short time later he was alerted to his car alarm going off and when ran out to the car to find the door had been forced open, and the cash was missing.
Neither the businessman or his Swords customer noticed any suspicious activity.
But neighbours in the Swords estate did report a silver Toyota Avensis with a '12 D' registration acting suspiciously in the area.
No arrests have been made so far and investigations are continuing into the incident which happened earlier this month.
The theft in Swords happened just days after after an elderly couple who made a cash withdrawal from a bank had the money stolen from them.
The incident took place at the couple's home in Lisnagry, Co Limerick.
A short time earlier they had withdrawn a considerable "four figure" sum of money in cash from a bank in Castletroy.
Gardai said that a man who was in the bank at the time monitored the withdrawal.
When the couple arrived home they were just getting out of the car when a young male, wearing dark coloured clothing, grabbed the lady's handbag which contained the cash.
He then ran back out onto the road and got into a silver car which drove off at speed.
In mid-April in a crime which was very similar to the theft that occurred in Swords earlier this month, where over €10,000 was stolen from a businessman in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.
The thieves made off with a packet of money from his jeep as it was parked in Weafer Street in the town.