A PROLIFIC criminal who was previously described by a judge as a man who ranks amongst the all-time stupidest criminals to come before the courts has been jailed for 18 months for possession of a stolen SUV.
Senior sources say gardaí believe the stolen €25,000 151-reg Toyota Rav that Gary Byrne (38) was caught with was to be used in a gangland hit.
Byrne, of Edenmore Crescent, Raheny, was given a three-year jail sentence with the final 18 months suspended at Dublin Circuit Court on Monday for possession of stolen property at Charlestown Shopping Centre on the capital's northside.
The criminal has close links to the so-called Finglas-based 'Monkey gang' and some close associates of his are suspected of involvement in the attempted murder of Lee Boylan in April, 2019.
Garda Eoin Brehony outlined the facts in the case and gave evidence that on June 6, 2019, officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) received confidential information that the stolen vehicle was being dropped off at the shopping centre and was to be collected by an unknown male.
The SUV had been stolen three days earlier in a burglary of a house in Swords.
"The vehicle was located by gardaí and was kept under observation at a car park beside fast food restaurants," Garda Brehony said.
"Gary Byrne arrived on foot and collected the vehicle. As he was exiting the car park, gardaí intervened and he was arrested. He was wearing latex gloves at the time."
Byrne was brought to Finglas garda station and interviewed but nothing of evidential value was obtained from this.
He was later charged and is now serving his latest jail sentence which was imposed by Judge Pauline Codd.
"The garda belief is that the vehicle was to be used in a shooting against a person unknown," a senior source said last night.
"At the time, Byrne was heavily involved with the Monkey crew in Finglas who were moving huge amounts of drugs around and also in a bitter feud with the Boylan faction in west Dublin.
"The belief is that Byrne was a trusted associate of the Monkey gang and was enlisted to move the car."
Gardaí seized the stolen SUV just four days after Noel Boylan - an enemy of the Monkey gang - was shot in the stomach and suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries during an attempted murder on the Blakestown Road in Blanchardstown.
"It is fair to say that the situation was very tense in west Dublin at the time that the anti-burglary unit were involved in the Byrne arrest operation," a senior source said.
Byrne made national headlines back in February, 2012, when Dublin Circuit Court heard on he had left the scene of a robbery at a gold storage business with the keys to the safe, locking the shutters behind him.
His two accomplices were trapped inside with two staff members who had been bound and gagged during the raid.
Judge Donagh McDonagh described it as one of the most farcical cases in recent criminal history in Dublin, and said Byrne ranks amongst the all-time stupidest criminals to come before the courts.