Armed Gardaí are patrolling graveyards in Wicklow in an effort to catch a gang of thieves who are targeting people as they visit cemeteries.
Cars have been targeted at cemeteries in Bray, Arklow, Rathdrum and Laragh, which has led Gardaí to set up an undercover surveillance operations to patrol the areas and act as mourners themselves. The Tallaght-based gang are also believed to be operating in popular tourist destinations in the Wicklow area.
There has been a sharp increase in thefts and burglaries across the county over the summer, but Gardaí are hopeful that the number of break-ins will reduce after the arrest of a 22-year-old criminal thought to be the boss of the group.
this crew have been targeting cars that are parked at graveyards
“In their latest move, this crew have been targeting cars that are parked at graveyards,” a Garda source said. There have been seven similar thefts linked to the gang in the space of just one week in which the burglars either break into parked vehicles or ransack the cars if they are unlocked.
Purses, cash, mobile phones and any other items left in the cars have been stolen by the criminals, who are also the chief suspects for a large number of handbag snatching incidents in counties Carlow, Kildare and Wicklow.
“August is an especially busy time at graveyards because it is the month when it is most common for blessing of the graves ceremonies taking place,” said the Garda source.
Gardaí are so concerned about the Tallaght gang that they have also organised armed patrols to police popular tourist destinations, along with the more discreet undercover operation at graveyards.
“When available, the Regional Support Unit (RSU) has been deployed to locations such as Glendalough, Aughrim and Enniskerry,” the source said.