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Burglary gangs targeting empty Dublin city centre properties

Criminal Gangs suspected of carrying out dozens of burglaries across Dublin’s commuter belt are now targeting empty commercial premises left vacant during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Gardaí have been called to the scenes of a number of break-ins or attempted burglaries at premises in the capital in the last three weeks. 

Officers suspect that a criminal gang which used to target suburban Dublin has now moved closer to the city centre to carry out the crimes.

Premises with expensive fixed assets and stock, such as pubs, are being targeted by the burglary gang. 

Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan said gardaí have reported an increase in burglaries in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford in the past number of weeks.

He said: “Gardai have reported a recent increase in crime in cities. Gardaí believe that the checkpoints established as part of Operation Fanacht have interrupted the movement of criminal gangs who target rural areas close to the motorway.

“Commercial premises have now become target areas. I would strongly urge communities to remain vigilant of suspicious activity during these testing times.”

Operation Fanacht was launched on 8 April. Gardaí conducted 150 permanent checkpoints on major routes, over 500 shorter and mobile checkpoints, as well as a large number of high visibility patrols at tourist locations, natural beauty spots, and parks and beaches.

Adrian Cummins, head of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, said that many businesses have been beefing up security since the restrictions on movement came in. 

He told “There are so many premises lying idle at the moment and owners are doing everything in their power to mitigate against burglaries. 

“Our industry would not be as high risk as say those with a significant quantity of alcohol stock, valuable furniture or TV equipment. 

“It’s high risk at the moment and just like many other businesses, we are in a very dangerous situation. We have circulated advice to our members regarding security.”

Away from that, gardaí have seen criminals targeting homes while families exercise or go shopping during Covid-19 lockdowns.

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