herald

Friday 14 December 2018

Gardai battle surge in burglaries and iPhone muggings

DETECTIVES across Dublin are reporting a major rise in home burglaries and mobile phone muggings.

The first six weeks of the year have seen a surge of break-ins in homes in the city suburbs.

In the city centre, officers have also seen an increase in the street theft of mobile phones – particularly iPhones.

The smartphones – worth up to €600 – are being fenced for just €40, the price of a deal of heroin.

Worryingly, the number of assaults on householders in the course of burglaries has also risen.

Gardai have noticed an increase in daytime break-ins particularly in the afternoons and school pick-up time.

“Where violence has been used, it is usually on Friday and Saturday nights. We have had a number of cases where a woman goes to check a noise in the hallway and finds a guy rifling through her bag,” a source said.

“Normally the burglar would run off but in recent cases they have threatened the householder.” Most of the crimes are committed by drug addicts, searching for: gold; laptops; iPhones; jewellery and cash.

He added: “What we’ve noticed is that there has been a trend where women in their homes have been threatened with screwdrivers when they’ve come across burglars,” said a senior source today.

The desperation of the criminals is also witnessed in a series of staged robberies on pizza and takeaway delivery men.

“There have been a series of incidents in which takeaway drivers have been summoned to addresses and the small amount of money they are carrying has been robbed,” said a source. A number of these incidents have been reported in the greater Tallaght and Coolock areas.

The methods used by the burglars include:

- Ringing the front door bell and when there is no response going around to the back of the house to break in.

- Popping sliding patio doors off their runners.

- In a number of cases gardai have seen the burglars simply smash their way into the house.

Thieves

- After breaking in through the back of the house thieves then go to the front door and lock it from the inside to stop the householder getting back in.

As well as a rise in the number of break-ins, gardai have also seen a change in the timings of attacks with an increasing number of daytime crimes.

Some officers report that the recent reduction in money available for Operation Anvil has curtailed the number of anticrime measures in the force.

“Anvil allowed us to mount extra checkpoints and operations which disrupted criminal activity. Now there has been cut-backs, the movements of burglars are going unchecked,” said a garda today.

Householders are being urged to report any suspicious cars or individuals in housing estates to the gardai.

“Look out for casual appearing guys offering services or driving around without any legitimate business in the area,” said a crime prevention officer.

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