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Mystery over theft of laptops from Revenue

THE IRA is on a list of possible suspects for the theft of 10 laptops from the Revenue Commissioners' head office last month.

The laptops have since been recovered but the sensitivity of the information has prompted suspicions that the theft may have been organised by someone whose tax affairs were under investigation.

Detectives have been told that a company linked to a former IRA member was investigated by the Revenue Commissioners in the past.

His substantial business affairs were also scrutinised by the tax authorities. It is not known whether he is currently under investigation.

A garda source said this was just one theory that detectives were following up.

Other possible suspects include organised crime gangs in west Dublin and a criminal gang from the Traveller community who may have stolen the computers for sale on the black market.

Detectives suspect that whoever was behind the burglary had inside information about the location of the laptops and the fact that they were chained to desks.

The laptops were stolen from the audit section of the Revenue Commissioners offices at Ashtown Gate on Navan Road, Dublin, late last month. The unit investigates tax evasion and fraud and works closely with the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

Three men armed with cutters forced their way in through a side door and made their way to the second floor, where they used the cutters to remove 10 laptops that were chained to desks. The men were captured on CCTV but had their faces covered.

The computers were found last weekend in an abandoned house in a ghost estate in Tyrellstown, west Dublin, following a tip-off to gardai.

Gardai say the burglars were unable to access the information contained on the laptops because the information was encrypted. The machines are still being examined by technical experts.

Sunday Independent