Saturday 24 February 2018

'Socky the thief' busted after a 30km garda chase

Gardai: File photo
Gardai: File photo

Ken Foy - Crime Correspondent

An armed garda unit chased a suspected burglar - who has been dubbed "Socky the Thief" - at high speeds for over 30km in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The drama started at a housing estate in Ashbourne, Co Meath, when detectives spotted the suspect driving out of a housing estate in the town.

When the vehicle failed to stop, a chase ensued - and ended up finishing 32km away in the Cloonmore estate in Tallaght, which would not have been possible without the high-powered car that officers used to chase the criminal's car.

When armed gardai from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation pounced on the suspect they discovered he was wearing socks on his hands.

Sources said that this was an increasingly common tactic by criminals.

"You might be saying 'Socky the Thief', but criminals are using socks on their hands rather than gloves on a much more regular basis nowadays - it is better for avoiding fingerprints," said a source.

The 34-year-old suspect, who is considered to be a "peripheral player" in Tallaght burglary gangs, is expected to be charged before the courts in the coming weeks after a lump hammer, hacksaw, screwdriver and gloves were found in his car.

He was released without charge after being questioned for a number of hours at Tallaght Garda Station yesterday.

The elite national unit that foiled 'Socky' had been under threat of being disbanded because of 'health and safety concerns'.

The unit is used for surveillance during the daytime. Officers attached to the unit are out overnight until 7am patrolling the motorways and other main roads.

They carry out specific intelligence-led operations targeting Traveller burglary gangs, in particular.

However, the 34-year-old arrested yesterday is not part of a Traveller gang.

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