Three members of a brutal organised burglary gang who are suspects in a spate of break-ins in south Dublin this week were being questioned last night after a high-speed chase on the M50 and M1.
One of them is currently on bail in relation to similar offences in the west and was a significant target for gardai.
Officers have been able to link the crew to three burglaries in the Blackrock area on Thursday night.
One involved the theft of €10,000 worth of jewellery, which was dumped on the motorway during the chase.
Jewellery and cash were also taken from another nearby home, while in the third break-in a suspect "got spooked" after an alarm went off as he tried to climb in a window.
Detectives are investigating if the same crew have been responsible for up to two dozen burglaries this week from Shankill to Stepaside.
The wider mob is suspected of a spate of burglaries across the capital, including an incident last month in which a model feared she was going to die after a gang of men held a knife to her throat and threw bleach on her.
Eve Ryan (24) spent a terrifying 20 hours locked inside a tiny en-suite bathroom before being rescued by her aunt at her Portmarnock home.
"This is an organised crime gang - a prime target of Operation Thor. They're as prolific as they come in terms of organised burglary gangs," a senior source said last night.
"They have been terrorising the capital for months now, southside and northside. These are highly significant arrests."
The three suspects - the 19-year-old gang boss and his pals, aged 17 and 23 - were still being questioned last night at Dundalk Garda Station after the motorway chase ended without serious injury.
A hunt was continuing last night for a fourth suspect who ran off.
Gardai yesterday released details of the arrest operation.
"Gardai on patrol in Tallaght observed a car acting in a suspicious manner," a spokeswoman said.
"Following reports of a number of burglaries in the Blackrock area, gardai on night patrols, with the assistance of the Air Support Unit, monitored traffic and carried out patrols of the area.
"Gardai observed this vehicle again on the M50 at Junction 13 and a managed garda pursuit ensued."
The spokeswoman said four occupants abandoned the vehicle on the M1 at junction 18 and ran towards nearby fields.
"Three males, one aged in his 20s, another in his late teens and one male youth also in his late teens, were arrested a short distance away and are currently detained," she said.
"A fourth occupant of the car is still being sought by gardai in connection with this incident.
"It's believed the car involved is the subject of an unauthorised taking in the UK.
"One garda member was taken to hospital with minor injuries and has since been released.
"Property from one burglary in Blackrock was recovered on the M50 by gardai."
The arrested men have close links to the infamous Cock Wall gang, who have been major targets for gardai and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) for more than a decade. They also have links to associates of slain burglary boss Fat Andy Connors.