A THIEF behind the criminal craze 'fishing' and who was shot during an alleged north Dublin burglary last year has admitted to involvement in a spate of thefts across the city.
Burglary gang boss Matthew Fahey faces jail for the spree.
Detectives have been tracking Fahey (35) and his 'Fishing Gang' for years.
Gardai branded the criminal craze 'fishing' because it involved attaching a magnet to the end of a fishing rod or long pole, pushing it through letterboxes and using it to remove keys left behind locked doors.
Fahey (35) was shot by Richard Lowndes Jnr (48) outside the home of his now 80-year-old dad Richard Snr at Maryland, Kilsallaghan, north Dublin, on April 12.
Fahey first claimed he was injured in a hunting accident, but later told gardai he was visiting Mr Lowndes Snr to thank him for an act of kindness.
Father-of-five Richard Jnr said that he was "defending my family home from someone who shouldn't have been there". There have been no criminal charges so far in that case.
The crooks linked to Fahey are based in Finglas and Blanchardardstown and were behind a spate of car thefts of high-range models including Mercs, BMWs, Audis and Alfas.
Fahey, previously of Cappagh Road, Finglas, has now pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to a series of thefts.
He committed a number of these offences while on bail after he was charged shortly following his arrest.
He is now living under the care of Victory Outreach Cork.
Vincent Heneghan, defending, asked Judge Mary Ellen Ring to take a "huge risk" with his client and adjourn the case to allow him to complete the Victory Outreach programme.
"It is the longest period he has been off drugs. There are two roads to him now: the road to jail or the road to rehabilitation," Mr Heneghan said.
Judge Ring remanded Fahey on continuing bail on condition that he continues with the programme, and adjourned sentencing until July.
As well as being prominent in Co Dublin and the capital's commuter belt, the gang was also active away from the capital, with 'fishing' robberies in Co Galway and Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
The Herald can reveal that the gang was selling the high-quality cars for just €1,200 to criminals based in the UK.
"As soon as they get the vehicles, they get them out of the country immediately either on the ferry or across the border with the North.
"Often the vehicles are out of the jurisdiction before the owners even know they are gone," explained a source.