Saturday 25 May 2019

Thieves use apps to target potentially 'older' and less fit taxi drivers

App alert: Thugs declined several taxis before going for an older driver. Stock Image
App alert: Thugs declined several taxis before going for an older driver. Stock Image
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Thugs who want to rob taxi drivers or flee without paying are now using taxi apps to screen potential victims on the basis of their age and fitness levels, drivers believe.

A spate of violent robberies and thefts over Christmas and the new year has resulted in some taxi drivers refusing to operate in areas of west Dublin such as Tyrrelstown, Ongar and Clonee over fears for their safety.

Drivers have been held up at knifepoint for cash, had their equipment stolen, and have had passengers refuse to pay their fares and then run off. In one incident on December 30 one man who refused to pay the fare for himself and two other passengers thought that by stealing the taxi driver's dash camera he would not be traceable.

But although the camera was stolen the footage it was recording was uploaded to cloud storage. The driver has now posted footage on social media in the hope that others could identify the culprits.

The driver who was targeted has told how the thugs who he collected had used a popular app to book him - which shows a photo of the driver. "I've been told since that they had requested and declined several taxis before they eventually chose me, probably on that basis that I'm a bit older and less likely to go after them," he said.

On December 30 alone there were two incidents in the Tyrrelstown and Clonee areas in which taxi drivers were targeted. One was when the driver's dash cam was stolen and the passengers refused to pay after being driven from Parnell Street. But in a more violent incident in the early hours of the morning a driver was threatened with a knife by a male passenger and a sum of cash was stolen. This incident happened at Littlepace Road in Clonee at 12.50am.

"It would make me think twice about working Tyrrelstown again, and there are other taxi drivers who have said the same thing," the driver whose dashcam was stolen said. "It leaves you shaken."

Irish Independent

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