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'Fishing' thief shot after he burgled farm

A NOTORIOUS criminal who was one of the first gangsters to introduce the so-called 'fishing' burglary craze in Ireland is facing even more jail time after he admitted burglary in an incident where he was shot in the arm by a farmer.

Matthew Fahey (36), who has 61 previous convictions, had gone to the door of the farmhouse and told the owner his car had broken down. He later returned and burgled the house after the owner had gone out.


Serial car thief Fahey, previously of Cappagh Road, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to carrying out burglaries at Maryland Farm, Kilsallaghan, Swords, and at Milrace, Warrenbrook, Rolestown, on April 12, 2012.

Sources say that before he was shot almost two years ago, he was one of the country's most prolific "fishing" burglars.

Garda analysts revealed around four burglaries every week now involve the use of specially-adapted rods or long bamboo canes to snag keys left on hallway tables.

Gangs are then able to steal cars without triggering alarms or break into homes without smashing windows or doors.

In its latest internal study on burglaries, gardai found more than 100 cases involved car keys being "fished" through letterboxes between last July and December – the vast majority in the capital.

Around a fifth of all cars stolen are taken by criminals using the same tactic.

Fahey and his crew were sometimes stealing more than a dozen cars a week as far back as 2010 and even earlier.

The criminals linked to Fahey are based in the Finglas and Blanchardstown areas and were behind a spate of car thefts of high-range models.

The Herald can reveal that the gang were then selling the stolen cars for just €1,200 each to criminals based in the UK.

"As soon as they get the vehicles, they get them out of the country immediately either on the ferry or across the border with the North," a source said.


In the latest case against Fahey at Dublin Circuit Court this week, Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned sentencing to July and granted him bail for one day in April to take a college entrance exam.

Garda Colm Donohoe told Shane Costelloe, prosecuting, that Richard Lowndes (79) was in his home in Swords when Fahey and a woman came to his door, asking to call a taxi to get back to Dublin. Mr Lowndes allowed them in.

He later left for Drogheda. His son arrived later and found the house had been broken into. He followed tyre tracks leading away across a field, confronted Fahey and shot him.