Gardaí recover 91 vehicles from ‘fishing’ thieves
Gardaí have recovered 91 stolen vehicles that had been taken during burglaries and destined to be exported and sold over seas as well as within Ireland. The vehicles seized are said to have a combined value of €1m.
The seizure was a part of Operation Waste which was launched by Insp Michael O’Connor last September. The Operation allocated a team of officers from the Garda’s Dublin Metropolitan Region traffic department to monitor the export of vehicles from the State to destinations such as the UK, Africa, Lithuania and Poland.
Gardaí have now identified four crime gangs that account for the majority of the thefts involved. The racket, is said by officers to be netting the gangs thousands of euro per week, and involves networks of theives from Ireland and Eastern Europe.
Most of the car burglaries involves ‘fishing’ vehicles’ keys through the letterbox using a magnetic pole. As such, Gardaí have issued renewed warning to all households to not leave keys on hall tables, or hooks that might be within reach of the front door.
The Garda effort focused on Dublin Port and targeted uninsured and dangerously loaded vehicles. This lead to the detention of more that 60 uninsured or unroadworthy cars, and heavy goods vehicles as well as the conviction and disqualification of several drivers.
Their inquiries also lead the Garda team to uncover illegal expoprts passing through the port. They discovered that criminal gangs were exporting stolen vehicles that had been targeted due to the easy access their keys using the ‘fishing’ method.
“These are highly organised criminals. They can fish out the keys through the letterbox of your home late at night and drive off in the vehicle, which can be booked onto a ferry at Rosslare and on its way out of the country before you wake up in the morning,” said one officer.
Some of the vehicles were being posted for sale on well known websites for prices that were well below the market value. Buyers were then being given false documentation.
The recovered vehicles included models such as the new Range Rovers, Mercedes E-class, BMW 3/5 series, Audi A4 and A6 models, as well as Nissan Qashqais, Volkswagen Golfs and other family cars. Motorcycles and commercial models have also been found. Clone vehicle, including an Audi Q7 and a Toyota Avensis D-Cat, were seized before they could be exported to their African destination.