Tourists park in Dublin’s north inner city and return to find car stolen
A couple of tourists who parked their car in Dublin’s north inner city, returned after sightseeing to find their car and all their belongings, including their passports, stolen.
Sebastian Smulders (33) and Lena Weiss (24) were visiting Ireland for a camping trip.
For Sebastian, from Berlin, it was his first time in Ireland, but Lena, from Vienna, had been once before and could not wait to come back.
"We arrived from Liverpool in the early hours of last Tuesday morning and looked for a place to park, but parking in Dublin is very expensive and we found a place in the car park of Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street," Sebastian told the Herald.
"We parked at around 11 or 11.30am and paid €6 in a pay and display machine to park for the day."
Sean McDermott street and neighbouring Railway street, Buckingham street and Foley street are known to be areas with serious anti-social behaviour issues, while some have also been named in several Sunday World sting operations.
In September 2014 we uncovered the 'Railway Kids' drug gang selling 'crystal meth' in the heart of Dublin’s north inner city.
On the 25th of May 2012 21-year-old Ross Hutch was found by gardai strolling down Sean McDermott Street with a sawn-off shotgun.
In 2014 a foreign national was stabbed twice in the stomach on Champion's Ave, just off Sean McDermott street, while a pregnant woman was attacked and car-jacked on nearby Mountjoy Square in May of the same year and the car was eventually stopped by gardai on Sean McDermott street.
When Sebastian and Lena arrived back to their car after a day of sightseeing they found their car had been taken.
"We were having a great day and then around 11pm we went back but the car was gone," said Sebastian.
"Some of my clothes were strewn around the car park in the mud, and our cooler box was broken up, but everything else was gone. We could see broken glass, so we had an idea that it had not been towed away.
"All of Lena's clothes, her iPad, my camera, our camping equipment and our passports were gone.
"We didn't know what to do, and our cell phone batteries had died, so we asked some local people if we could use their phones to call the gardai.
"We asked three people, but they just grinned at us and walked away.
"Then a man, I think he was Polish, helped us call and report it to the guards."
There has been no sign of the car, a left-hand-drive 2007 black Opel Astra estate with German plates, since it was stolen.
Sebastian and Lena are hoping that someone might have spotted it and can help them find it.
"We had planned to travel all around Ireland and dreamed of waking up and seeing the fantastic landscapes, but we have spent last week in Dublin instead," said Sebastian.
"We've rented a car now and might get some travelling in before we go home on Friday.
"We have been staying at a friend's house in the city and have met so many really nice people, it has nearly made up for having the car stolen.
"Still, it is a bad experience, but we would hope to come back again and maybe have better luck next time."