In the last two weeks, forty suspects in a ring of thieves operating throughout Europe were arrested in Ireland, an investigation by the Irish Sun revealed.
Gardai [police] nabbed two suspects in Dublin city centre last week, with more arrests in Mullingar and Galway. Gardai say the suspects dress as tourists to hone in on their prey, and include teenagers and couples in their gang to better blend in with the crowds.
The gang targets iPhones, purses and wallets belonging to tourists, with 400 items under their belts stolen in Dublin alone. Part of their strategy was to employ ‘spotters’ to ensure the coast was clear of gardai before they struck.
The Garda’s “Operation Aughrim” to catch the thieves required at least six plainclothes officers a day to stake out locations.
The last two arrested suspects spent two and a half hours planning their final strike, unaware they were observed the whole time by undercover officers, the Irish Sun reported.
Fingerprints sent to Interpol by the gardai show that the Romanian thieves arrested in Ireland have also been employing their light fingers in Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, England and the Netherlands.
According to the Irish Sun, criminals have been using pickpocketing in Dublin as training for the Olympics later this summer.