GARDAI are hunting a gang of burglars suspected of being behind a wave of car break-ins across the capital.
Residents have been urged to be extra vigilant after the gang targeted sevens cars in a Dublin estate over an eight- hour period during one day last week.
The gang are believed to have forced entry into the cars on Tuesday night in the Temple View Close estate in Clarehall.
They used weapons to break the locks before scouring the vehicles for valuables.
Sources have described the blitz in the estate as "carefully planned" and believe that the criminals visited the estate earlier that day.
"THESE LADS ARE PICKING PLACES THAT THEY BELIEVE THEY CAN MAKE A QUICK ESCAPE. THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE DOING AND ARE ABLE TO CLEAN OUT A CAR WITHIN SECONDS," A SOURCE SAID.
A "substantial level" of personal items were stolen from the cars, including iPhones, cash and mp3 players.
Officers from Coolock Garda Station have taken fingerprints from all the targeted vehicles but no arrests have been made.
Gardai believe the gang may be behind a wave of burglaries in north Dublin in recent months and are urging people to be extra vigilant.
"It's very important that vehicle owners do not leave any personal belongings in clear view. Otherwise you're playing into the hands of thieves," a Garda spokesman said.
The Herald previously reported how garda stations in North Dublin have deployed undercover officers in a bid to deal with the burglary epidemic.
FIANNA FAIL DUBLIN SPOKESPERSON DARRAGH O'BRIEN TOLD THE HERALD THAT FAMILIES ARE "HIGHLY CONCERNED" ABOUT BEING TARGETED.
"The bottom line is that the underlying issue here is cuts to the Garda force," he said.
"I consistently argued against these curtailments with Alan Shatter but he forged ahead. Now, we see that thefts are up, burglaries are up, break-ins are up – the proof is in the pudding," he said.
"This is nothing short of an epidemic. And people are highly concerned about their wellbeing and their families wellbeing. Gardai are doing the best they can.
"But they do not have the resources necessary to properly target this type of crime," he added.