Gardaí arrest three men over midlands car thefts

Up to eight vehicles stolen by gang recovered through criminal investigation

Gardaí released two of the men arrested for the car burglaries without charge, while the other man went before court in Cloverhill. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Gardaí released two of the men arrested for the car burglaries without charge, while the other man went before court in Cloverhill. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Gardaí in the midlands have broken up a car theft gang, recovering up to eight stolen vehicles in the process.

In a major operation which is continuing, gardaí arrested three men and one appeared in court in Cloverhill in Dublin in recent days and was remanded in custody.

The other two men have been questioned and released without charge, but gardaí say that files in respect of both are to be prepared for consideration by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The operation was put in place by gardaí from Longford and Roscommon, supported by officers from the Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit, based at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Dublin.

It was mounted following a spate of burglaries across counties Longford, Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo in recent weeks.

Longford town and outlying villages, including Killashee, Ballymahon and Ballyleague, were all targeted by the gang who have shown a preference for high-performance vehicles. These were being stolen for sale to unsuspecting customers and also for use in further criminal activity, gardaí believe.

Two weeks ago the gang got away with five cars from burglaries across Co Longford and as far away as Co Leitrim.

Last Tuesday night and into the early hours of the following morning they targeted similar territory – outlying villages in Co Longford – and made off with four vehicles.

The thieves had been initially carrying out burglaries at homes with a view to stealing car keys.

In most instances they had ignored other valuable items, unless they were immediately accessible, in favour of the keys of cars parked immediately outside.

Following the upsurge in car-related burglaries across the midland counties, senior officers in the area carried out a review of each theft which is believed to have revealed a specific pattern.

Searches were carried out in recent days at private properties and a number of business premises, mainly in the Longford area, which led to the recovery of eight of the stolen cars.

The gang behind the thefts is understood to be a combination of midlands and Dublin criminal figures, with wider connections to organised crime in the capital.