Crackdown on gangs jetting in for crime sprees
EASTERN European gangs are launching short-term crime sprees in Dublin and other EU capital cities before returning home with suitcases full of stolen booty.
The gangs are involved mainly in street thefts and shoplifting during the day and then focusing on customers in nightclubs and pubs at night.
Gardai have smashed one gang from Romania after raiding a flat on the North Circular Road in Dublin.
Officers recovered goods worth at least €7,000, including mobile phones, clothing, jewellery, alcohol and cosmetics that had been stolen in a spate of crime in Dublin and surrounding counties.
The search was carried out by gardai from Pearse Street station on Sunday morning and the haul included a mobile phone that had been stolen from a nightclub in Naas, Co Kildare, hours earlier.
The garda raid was planned under Operation Aughrim, which was established to combat a big rise mainly in phone thefts around the capital.
It was set up after a total of 7,887 mobiles, mainly iPhone 4 models, were taken between January 1 and December 10 last year.
Based on intelligence collected about the activities of one gang, comprised of Romanians, gardai swooped on the flat and found €4,500 worth of clothing, which had been shoplifted from several high-street stores, along with phones worth €2,000.
Gardai believe 14 suspects are involved in this gang. No arrests were made at the flat but gardai said last night that these were "imminent".
Gardai said that many of those who had been identified here had come to the attention of police in other countries.
Inspector John Foudy, of Pearse Street, said they were currently trying to establish the owners of the stolen items and pointed out that the task would be much easier in relation to the phones if the owners of the mobiles knew their IMEI (international mobile equipment identity) numbers.
A mobile owner can access the IMEI number by keying in *#06# and the owner is advised to send the number to a colleague to ensure if the phone is stolen, it can be identified.