When the clocks go back, it’s crime time
Garda warning after gang uses high-powered cars in spate of burglaries
GARDAí are warning the public to be extra vigilant after a spate of burglaries this week, now that the clocks have gone back.
Seasoned officers have told the Mail on Sunday that this is the most lucrative time of the year for burglar gangs, who take advantage of the extra hour of darkness in which to operate.
‘It’s the same every year,’ said one source. ‘We know who they are, it is just a matter of catching them in the act.’
On Friday, gardaí were involved in a potentially deadly chase with a Dublin-based gang who had travelled to Cork in a high-powered Saab with false plates.
Before being used, the car – which was either stolen to order or bought for cash – had been hidden away from CCTV cameras.
The gang carried out at least two burglaries in the Mayfield area, before using the M8 motorway to get back to Dublin,
Gardaí believe that a week earlier, the same gang carried out seven burglaries in just a four-hour period.
The areas hit included Little Island, Cobh, Glanmire and Ballyvolane, and the the car used was an Audi that could easily do up to 200kmh on the motorway.
There have been over 40 burglaries in the Mayfield area of Cork in the last month.
Thousands of euro worth of cash and jewellery were stolen and it is thought the same gang, using different cars, is responsible.
Another source told the MoS it is ‘that’ time of year.
‘The clocks go back and these gangs take their opportunity. Last weekend’s burglaries in Cork took place between the hours of 4pm and 9pm.
‘The gangs can now start early and operate quickly under the cover of darkness when a lot of people are still in work.
‘This particular gang is travelling to Cork from Dublin in different high-powered cars. They are targeting homes near the motorway in Cork when the owners are out.’
Last weekend, the gang were caught on CCTV driving a darkcoloured Audi, before heading back up the M8 towards Dublin.
On Friday, the gang were once again spotted, but this time they were driving a high-powered Saab.
Homeowners in Cork are being urged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
But it’s not just Cork affected. Gardaí from around the country are involved in a general crackdown on rural crime.
An order was issued last week to officers throughout the country, directing a range of activities to prevent the predictable upsurge in burglaries.
The crackdown is part of the winter phase of Operation Thor.
For the remainder of the winter months regional detective superintendents will meet on a regular basis to identify targets.
Another source told the MoS: ‘We know what to expect, but the gangs are brazen. They will drive at crazy speeds to make good their getaway.’
A number of people are already in custody following successful detections, but officers are continuing to hunt four Traveller gangs they believe are responsible for a large bulk of burglaries around the country.
‘The armed units are all on alert. It is traveller gangs responsible for the burglaries and attacks on the elderly.
‘We know who they are, it is just a matter of catching them in the act now.’
The gangs tend to ‘specialise’ in different types of burglaries.
‘One gang will focus on the elderly. Another on vans and tools. Another on small country shops and garages,’ continued the source.
‘The cars used in the burglaries are usually stolen to order or bought for cash, and then a variety of false plates are used to evade detection.
‘The cars are then stored in areas with no CCTV, for example in housing estates around Dublin and underground car parks in apartment buildings.’
‘It’s the same every year. We know who they are’ ‘Gang travelling from Dublin in different cars’ ‘They are brazen and drive at crazy speeds’