Gardai in Dublin city centre have noticed a huge increase in a crime nicknamed 'shoulder surfing' with organised foreign gangs travelling in and out of the capital at weekends to specifically target revellers in clubs and bars.
There were around dozen incidents of shoulder surfing recorded last weekend alone by officers at Pearse Street Garda Station.
They also arrested prolific 26-year-old Romanian criminal Ional Adamescu as part of an undercover operation.
Shoulder surfing involves a criminal watching people make transactions on their cards in the bars or clubs and memorising their pin numbers.
They then keep the victim under surveillance and steal the person's bag or pickpocket them to get their card.
The criminal then leaves the club and gardai say that the "ideal time" for them to do this is before midnight when they can "max-out" the victim's card twice over by making transactions on either side of midnight.
Adamescu, the criminal who was busted in the early hours of last Sunday morning as part of the gardai's Operation Aughrim, was a "lone operator".
It's believed he flew into the country specifically to commit this type of crime over a 24-hour period before intending to fly back out again.
But Adamescu is instead serving the first days of a four-month jail sentence after his arrest outside a club in the Temple Bar area.
After being noticed by an undercover Garda team earlier in the night, the officers pounced on Adamescu as he was leaving The Mezz at Eustace Street. When they searched him, they discovered two stolen credit cards up his sleeve taken from punters at the venue.
It was later established that he had eight previous convictions for similar offences in Finland.
Gardai believe that Adamescu is part of a massive organised Romanian crime gang who target cities in western Europe. He was jailed for four months at Dublin District Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to theft charges.
Sources say that he arrived here looking "very well dressed and clean-cut with the sole purpose of engaging in criminal activity".
Undercover Garda operations in Dublin city centre against shoulder surfing and a separate criminal phenomenon known as 'hugging mugging' will be increased in the weeks leading up to Christmas.