Garda impersonators target woman (71) on motorway in sinister attempted car theft
Published 02/05/2015 | 13:31
A 71-year-old woman defied a criminal gang who forced her to stop her car by pretending to be gardai.
The thugs used a blue flashing light to trick her into stopping her car in the dead of night on an isolated section of the M2 motorway.
Sinister garda impersonators have been preying on lone motorists late at night to steal their cars, but they failed to part the plucky pensioner from her new car.
"I thought there was something odd," the woman - a Dubliner who lives in Co Meath - told the Herald as she described how she became suspicious after being signalled to stop her SUV at 4.15am on a stretch of the motorway near Ashbourne.
"I was driving to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Dublin when I noticed a car driving right behind me.
"The car drew level with me and I began feeling annoyed when it wouldn't overtake.
"When I saw the blue light flashing I pulled over and stopped."
The woman said that although the car looked official, she felt that the man who got out of it "didn't have the look of a guard".
"It was dark and I couldn't really see his face," she said.
"He walked up to my car, rapped on the window and asked me if I had been drinking and told me I was weaving all over the road.
"I told him I didn't drink. And my car has corrective steering so I knew I couldn't have been weaving.
"I kept the door locked. I just wanted to get to the hospital and I wasn't going to get into an argument. He could have been the president for all I cared. When I told him I was on my way to hospital he just turned around and walked away."
The sinister event happened in the early hours of last Saturday.
"If he had insisted further, I would have told him to follow me to the nearest garda station," the woman said.
It was only much later that she realised the danger she had been in and how gardai had been warning about criminals masquerading as officers to steal vehicles.
"I'm an old age pensioner. My car was only two weeks old and I wasn't giving it to anyone," she said.
Forty minutes after the woman was stopped, the same mob were successful when they targeted a 2010-registered blue Nissan Qashqai close to where the woman had refused to co-operate with them.
The 23-year-old driver from Navan had dropped his parents at Dublin Airport and was making his way home when he spotted blue lights behind him as he drove on the N2.
He pulled over because he believed he was being instructed to do so by gardai in an unmarked car.
After he stopped, the two occupants of the car, described as a silver Vauxhall Vectra, got out and told him that he had been speeding.
He was ordered to get out of his SUV on the pretence of a drugs search and one of the criminals simply got in and drove off in it.
Separately, a man had his van stolen in a similar incident three weeks ago near Trim, Co Meath.
In that case, he was hit over the head and had his Ford Transit stolen.