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Criminals' lucky escape as gun jams in botched gangland hit


General scene of Old County Glen, Crumlin

General scene of Old County Glen, Crumlin

General scene of Old County Glen, Crumlin

Detectives are investigating an attempted double murder where two well-known criminals had a very lucky escape after their would-be assassin’s handgun jammed when he tried to shoot them.

Gardai are still trying to establish an exact motive for the botched attack, which happened just yards from Sundrive Road Garda Station at around 10pm on Friday.

It has emerged that one of the targets is a notorious 27-year-old criminal who is considered a main player in the ‘fishing’ burglary gangs, which have been using fishing rods and other implements to fish car keys from letterboxes and then steal cars.

This criminal, who formerly had close links to a Crumlin mobster nicknamed ‘The Whale’, was walking with his 23-year-old pal – who was himself the chief suspect for a shooting in 2011 – when a car pulled up beside them.

The incident unfolded at Old County Glen in Crumlin after the 27-year-old and 23-year-old local men had been drinking in the nearby Old County Bar.

Sources said that after having a couple of pints in this pub, the duo left and a car pulled up beside them.

In the space of a few seconds, two women got out of the car and then a male hopped out and pointed a handgun at the pals.

However, the gun jammed and the two men attempted to escape by jumping over a gate and the car sped off shortly before the intended targets rang gardai.

Armed officers rushed to the scene and sources said after initially being sceptical of the men’s account of what happened, officers now believe their version of events after another witness came forward and described seeing the car speed away from the scene.

Both men have given officers statements about what happened and the matter is being investigated by detectives based at Sundrive Road Garda Station.

The Herald has learned that the 27-year-old criminal survived a previous attempt on his life in July when a gunman attempted to shoot him as he sat in a car in the Crumlin area.

Sources said that he is a key player in a gang of ruthless Dublin criminals who have been involved in a spate of organised burglaries over the past five years and he is facing serious charges before the courts.

He is also involved in a number of brutal personal feuds and violent attacks.

Earlier this year, gardai warned householders about the increasing prevalence of ‘fishing’ burglars, who use long rods to steal car and home keys through letterboxes.

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.

Hooks or powerful magnets are attached to the end of the rods to catch the unsecured keys, often left within a few feet of the front door.

Gangs are then able to steal cars without triggering alarms. Around a fifth of all cars stolen are taken using the same tactic.

The 23-year-old man who was walking with the ‘fishing’ gang mobster is also very well known to gardai.

He is suspected of being the gunman in a botched hit on Crumlin criminal Karl Fay (24), who was shot in a park in Milltown, south Dublin, on April 7, 2011.

After being targeted in the incident, Fay stumbled into the well-known Dropping Well pub covered in blood and fell on the floor in front of dozens of shocked customers and spent a number of weeks in hospital.

Since the Milltown incident, Fay has survived a number of assassination attempts, including two other gun attacks.

One line in the investigation into Friday night’s shooting is that associates of Fay may  be behind it, according to sources.