Suspect in stolen car ring arrested in overnight operation

Man and accomplice stopped on Naas Road in early hours after being pursued by gardaí

File image of a man seeking to steal a car.  Gardaí are investigating a suspected  crime network  specialising in breaking into houses to steal car keys before driving off in the vehicles. File photograph: Getty Images

File image of a man seeking to steal a car. Gardaí are investigating a suspected crime network specialising in breaking into houses to steal car keys before driving off in the vehicles. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A man who gardaí believe to be the key figure in a crime network that specialises in breaking into houses to steal car keys before driving off in the vehicles has been arrested.

The suspect and an accomplice were stopped on the Naas Road in Co Kildare early this morning after being pursued by gardaí who had been investigating an attempted break-in overnight in Naas.

The men were travelling in two cars which were spotted by gardaí. The registration numbers were checked and it was discovered one of the vehicles, a Mitsubishi 4X4, had been stolen.

A significant Garda operation immediately commenced with members of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, gardaí from counties Carlow and Kildare and members based as far away as Finglas in Dublin involved.

Tried to get away

The two vehicles were brought to a halt at about 4.30am on the Naas Road, having been chased for a period during which the car occupants tried to get away.

The man in the Mitsubishi was arrested at the scene, as was the other suspect, believed to be an accomplice, who was travelling in a Mazda car which had not been stolen.

Gardaí believe they had both travelled to Carlow in the Mazda to steal the Mitsubishi by breaking into the house where it was parked.

They were detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and taken to Naas Garda station for questioning.

During a follow-up search in west Dublin, gardaí discovered a silver Ford Focus that had recently been stolen in Tullow, Co Carlow.

The keys for it were taken during a break-in and the car was driven away.

Long a target

The main suspect arrested, a Dubliner in his 30s, has long been a target for gardaí and has convictions for armed robbery and hijacking vehicles.

He has served a number of prison sentences and has come to the attention of the Garda in relation to violent crime committed while he was in jail.

From west Dublin, gardaí believe he has for years been travelling around the midland and southeast regions identifying vehicles to steal.

This involved returning later to break into properties to take keys of targeted vehicles which are driven away and sold on or used in other crimes.