herald

Thursday 22 August 2019

Owners told to be vigilant after spate of high-end car thefts by violent gang

Lucan residents were warned
Lucan residents were warned

Around a dozen high-end cars have been stolen in less than a week in the Lucan area.

In the space of a few minutes in the early hours of last Friday, four cars were stolen from outside their owners' homes while they slept.

Gardai are investigating if the same Tallaght-based org-anised crime gang is behind the spree.

The chief suspects for these robberies are three men who were the subject of a garda manhunt after being involved in an earlier incident on Friday in the Rathcoole area.

The situation has become so out-of-control that gardai even went on to Facebook to warn car owners in Lucan to be vigilant.

"We would like to highlight to the residents of Lucan that there has been an increase in residential burglaries in the Lucan area," the statement said.

"Thieves are primarily targeting cars parked outside the premises.

"Please ensure your homes are secured, in particular at night time check that all windows and doors are locked.

"Also ensure your keys are not on display, especially in the hallway near the front door. Keep safe and vigilant."

Gardai have had success against the violent Traveller gang suspected of being behind the crime spree.

They arrested one of the main ringleaders during an operation last Thursday and have also recovered two stolen cars.

Dismantled

"The organised crime gang is selling these cars on to anyone who will buy them, including other gangs," a senior source said.

"There is a belief that some of the cars are being provided to chop shops, where the vehicle's valuable parts are dismantled and then sold on.

"There are plans for a major operation against the gang involved in this spate of thefts and a number of different garda units are on the case."

In some of the Lucan cases, the gang has been fishing keys from letter boxes of homes.

Car-key fishing cases are common in Dublin where thieves use a rod-like tool to grab keys without entering the house.

Gardai say the best way to deter the thieves is to store keys somewhere out of sight.

The gang believed to be behind the Lucan crimewave is also suspected of involvement in a nationwide burglary spree in which cash and jewellery were stolen.

"More resources are needed to tackle this scourge - these are violent organised crime gangs," the source added.

The Lucan crime spree is not connected to a gang highlighted by the Herald earlier this month who ae suspected of stealing around 30 high-end cars in the space of a fortnight in some of the poshest suburbs on the capital's northside.

The Coolock-based gang of mainly teenagers has targeted homes and vehicles in Clontarf, Malahide, Howth, Sutton and Raheny.

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