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RTE satellite vans targeted by city thieves

RTE's expensive satellite vans are believed to have been targeted in a criminal damage incident.

Intruders on the RTE Campus in Donnybrook in Dublin 4 are understood to have removed the wing mirrors from a number of the vans.

In an ironic twist, the incident took place just hours after an item on Joe Duffy's Liveline show on RTE Radio 1 about stolen-to-order thefts last Thursday.

Joe had been sent photos of a Mercedes parked at Dublin Airport which had its four wheels stolen and was left on blocks.

And a caller to the show revealed that in December thieves took the wing mirrors off her Mercedes, costing her almost €900 to replace. The woman from Howth said: "They were professionally cut off."

She said there were three other Mercedes cars in the area targeted in the same way, on the same evening.

It is believed the items are then sold on the black market.

However, RTE has refused to comment on the incident on its own premises which sources have told the Herald occurred on the night of March 3.

One insider said up to three of the Mercedes vans were targeted.

"They can't go out. They [the vans] are stuck in base until they get them fixed," the source told the Herald.

The vehicles -- emblazoned with the RTE logo and with satellite dishes on top -- are regularly seen parked outside Leinster House or at the scenes of breaking news stories.

Joe Duffy told his listeners there is obviously a market for car mirrors.

"€860 to replace them -- that's how valuable they are and that's why they're being stolen I presume," Joe said.

"The same yesterday with the central heating oil and the tools that are being robbed. Somebody is buying these things," he added.

comurphy@herald.ie