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Gardai swoop on dealers in iPhone thefts epidemic

GARDAI in the city are planning a major blitz on late-night mobile phone dealers who have been linked to the dramatic rise in smart phone thefts.

Officers have compiled a dossier containing the main players involved in what has been dubbed "Dublin's most prevalent black market".

The Herald can reveal that certain dealers have been found purchasing suspected mobile phones in the early hours of the morning in a bid to go undetected.

Gardai involved in the crackdown have uncovered a number of trends.



Nightclub

They found the thieves are targeting nightclub-goers in "packs" in a direct attempt to steal mobile phones

Once inside they rummage through bags and jackets before heading off to other venues

Some thieves have been found with as many as five mobiles hidden in their clothing

The phones are sold on to street dealers and outlets for as much as €250

Many others are being sold on the internet and gardai suspect others are being shipped abroad

A senior garda source said more than 50 smart phones are being stolen in his city centre district every week.

"The serious rise in thefts that we are seeing is driven by iphones. Thefts of the phones are well above cash and credit cards.

A major and lucrative black market has been created, with thieves targeting the phones and selling them off within minutes," he told the Herald.

"I can't emphasise enough how important it is that people do not wave around their iphones.

"You would not wave around €300 in cash, but that is effectively what some people are doing when they leave their phones in view.

"Our officers discovered five phones on one individual last week and three on another so it has become a major earner for thieves," he added.

Gardai on the northside of the city are particularly focused on outlets that have been found to be accepting phones in the early hours of the morning.

Two people involved in the practice were detained by officers from Store Street Garda Station last week.

A Herald investigation recently uncovered the ease in which one can sell stolen mobile phones to outlets across the city.

Our reporter was offered up to €200 per phone -- despite telling the salesperson that the phone was stolen.

hnews@herald.ie


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