A GANG of professional burglars has stolen over €500k in cash, jewellery and other valuables in heists in the D4 embassy belt.
Targeting the homes of wealthy business people, the robbers carried out a number of meticulously planned raids around Ailesbury Road and Nutley Avenue in recent weeks.
The well-organised gang has been targeting houses in the plush Ballsbridge and Donnybrook areas and locals have called for more garda patrols in the area.
Now nicknamed the "Embassy Belt Burglars" by gardai because of the number of consular buildings in Ailesbury Road, the gang have learned how to enter and leave homes undetected but escape with large volumes of cash as well as high-value gold, diamond and antique jewellery, computer tablets and smartphones.
Residents who spoke to the Herald said they are shocked at the spate of break-ins and want to see more garda patrols in the area.
One woman who was targeted said the gang had tried to force her front window before entering through a patio.
"The alarm was triggered at both those points and upstairs as well, they were in and gone in minutes," she said.
Luckily for that Dublin 4 resident, the crooks appear to have been spooked by a neighbour and were seen fleeing empty-handed.
But the gang has had huge success at other homes, landing a haul of €250,000 worth of loot in one burglary at a businessman's house at the end of February.
"These guys know what they're at. This isn't junkies doing butcher jobs on locks and smashing their way in to houses," one source said.
In October, a number of homes in Ailesbury Road and Nutley Park were hit, and valuables worth more than €40,000 were stolen.
In November, Ailesbury Road and Nutley Avenue were targeted in two burglaries, and in one alone personal belongings worth €125,000 were taken, according to local sources.
In December, there were two more burglaries in Ailesbury Road and money and goods worth more than €50,000 were stolen.
And the burglary gang, buoyed by their success, have kept going relentlessly.
The gang are believed to have struck as recently as last week, netting more than €5,000 in valuables in the Nutley area.
"These guys are a professional outfit who seem to know how to bypass alarms," one source told the Herald.
"They seem to be watching houses and know people's movements and when they're away.
"At these addresses these guys know they will get stuff of high value, what they are taking is top-notch."
One ploy believed to be used by the burglars is to trigger the alarm over a period of days, making the owners think it is faulty.
They are then more likely to leave it switched off, or not heed it when it sounds. And neighbours are less likely to react if they have heard the alarm ringing in the previous few days.
"When my neighbour was broken into, they went for a front window late in the evening, and the street light outside was broken. It's like they know how to play any advantage they can see," said one Nutley resident.
"I would certainly like to see more gardai on the street doing more patrols. I've been living here a year and I've never seen a garda on the road."
The Nutley Residents Association recently posted an information leaflet through the letterboxes of residents in an effort to try to reduce their risks of being broken into.