A suspected member of an international crime organisation was arrested shortly after midnight yesterday as he and two other gang members tried to break into an NCT centre.
The 32-year-old Romanian national remained in custody at Carlow garda station last night and is likely to face court today.
Senior sources say the suspect is considered to be part of a gang behind a spate of nationwide NCT robberies and he was also being questioned last night about two raids which happened in Co Westmeath and Co Tipperary in recent weeks.
Carlow gardaí, who have increased patrols in recent days because of the coronavirus policing plan, were alerted to the attempted break-in at the NCT centre in the Pollerton area of the town by a member of the public who saw suspicious activity.
A number of units rushed to the scene and saw the suspects trying to get into the building with drills and con-saws.
Two of the three-man gang managed to flee but the 32-year-old was arrested at the scene and brought to Carlow garda station where he was being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
The 32-year-old has an address in Blanchardstown but gardaí believe he has been "flying in and out of the country specifically to carry out this type of crime".
Detectives suspect he was part of a gang that targeted the NCT centre in Cahir, Co Tipperary, earlier this month and in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, last month in which cash and certs were stolen.
"This arrest is considered a major result as this gang is considered to be behind a spate of these crimes in the past 18 months or so across the country," a senior source said last night.
"They are a Romanian organised crime gang, one of many that are operating throughout the country," the source added.
Garda air support was deployed in the early hours of yesterday to try to catch the two other gang members who had fled the area in a car but they have still not been caught.
The Carlow arrest is the first following a major probe into NCT centre burglaries by a number of different Garda districts.