Gardaí are searching for a young criminal suspected of being involved in a series of aggravated burglaries, during which elderly people were viciously attacked.
The suspect, aged 19 and from Crumlin, Dublin, is on the run and gardaí are involved in a manhunt to track him down.
The teen, along with a criminal associate, has been involved in a spate of aggravated burglaries in the capital in recent months.
His associate has been detained and charged in relation to one of these offences. However, the 19-year-old remains "at large" according to well-placed security sources.
Detectives suspect he is being sheltered outside the capital.
A source said: "Despite his young age, this man has shown a propensity for serious violence. Along with his accomplice he has been targeting elderly people in home invasions - and some of their victims have been hospitalised.
"Because he is part of a transient population, it is harder to track him down. But this is a man gardaí want to track down urgently because of the nature of his crimes and the real potential that he will continue to target elderly people in aggravated burglaries."
The teen is suspected of carrying out recent aggravated burglaries on the southside of Dublin city as well as in Kilmainham and Clondalkin.
In one of the home invasions, a couple in their 60s were beaten with metal objects and hospitalised.
Gardaí have established that the duo used a white van while they scoured the capital for targets.
Detectives have not ruled out that the 19-year-old is involved in other aggravated burglaries outside the capital, in addition to three in Dublin where there is evidence to link him to the crimes.
A well-placed source said that in some of the attacks, the criminals got away with very little cash or valuables.
"For anyone, but particularly older people, when someone breaks into your home and attacks you, it is the most terrifying experience of their lives. The trauma suffered by some of these elderly people at the hands of these men, it is something they will never recover from," said the source.
"Many victims of aggravated burglaries never want to return to their homes because of what they were subjected to."
The 19-year-old does not have many criminal convictions, unlike his associate currently in custody, but gardaí believe the teen has been involved in robberies and burglaries for several years.
It is only in recent times that he and his accomplice have been inflicting violence on victims during break-ins.
"People are at home more but this hasn't stopped this pair, like it does many other burglars," said the source.
"These men have no problem with robbing houses with people in them and viciously attacking people for simply being in their own homes, which should be a safe place.
"They target the elderly specifically because they see them as softer targets and more likely to have cash in the house.
"The violent nature of the attacks is a real worry and the concern is that they could continue to escalate."