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masked gang of raiders who broke into revenue office and stole tax probe laptops

THESE ARE the men who walked into a Revenue office and stole laptops on a major tax investigation.

The three suspects used key cards to enter the building, on Dublin's Navan Road, and stole the PCs which contained sensitive material on a leading republican.

Gardai have now released CCTV images in a bid to identify the men, who carried out the raid on the Revenue offices at Ashtown Gate on Navan Road, Dublin on January 27 last.

The footage shows the men, wearing hoodies and hats, as they enter an internal door within the building. Shortly afterwards the men searched an office there and carefully removed a number of laptops they had singled out.

The crime hit the headlines in January after it emerged that the men used specially obtained key cards to access the building and the floor in question.

Detectives suspect that the robbery may have been made to impede the Revenue's enquiries into the former republican.

A company linked to a former IRA member was under a tax investigation at the Ashtown Gate office.

The gardai have since recovered the laptops.

The theft, which will feature on tonight's Crimecall, took place in the audit section of the Revenue Commissioners offices at Ashtown Gate. The unit investigates tax evasion and fraud and works closely with the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

The republican's substantial business affairs were being investigated by the Revenue Commission for tax evasion, the Herald understands.

The theft occurred at 7.15pm on Thursday, January 27.

Completely ignoring the bottom floors of the building, the three men headed to the top floor and carefully chose the computers they wanted.

Once they had identified the laptops they wished to steal, the computers, which were chained and padlocked, were freed and the men fled the scene.

They were captured leaving the premises at 7.44pm carrying two laptop bags and a sports bag.

Investigators are confident that certain desks and certain information were targeted in the theft.



Computers

The men were captured on CCTV but had their faces covered carefully with ski masks.

The computers were later found during the search of an unfinished house in a ghost estate in the Cruise Park area of Tyrellstown, west Dublin, following a tip-off to gardai.

Gardai believe that the burglars may not have been able to access the information contained on the laptops, because the information was encrypted.

hnews@herald.ie