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Shocking figures Gardai concern over major increase in violent e-scooter hijackings in Dublin

This is a matter of very serious concern. It is a growing problem but yet there does not seem to be any co-ordinated plan to tackle it”

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Gardai are becoming increasingly concerned about a major increase in the offence of hijacking of e-scooters, a violent crime that senior sources say should be classified as robbery.

According to figures obtained by the Sunday World there has been 63 hijacking incidents nationwide since the start of last December nationwide with the vast majority of these incidents involving e-scooters.

While 55 of these offences happened in Dublin and the remaining eight happened outside the capital, only three of the violent crimes in total have been classified as “detected” by officers.

“This is a matter of very serious concern. It is a growing problem but yet there does not seem to be any co-ordinated plan to tackle it,” a source told the Sunday World.

“By its very nature these are extremely violent crimes and what has also been noted is that the e-scooters that are stolen generally do not go back into circulation in Ireland for resale,” the source added.

This means that senior detectives believe that that the e-scooters are being stored and then transported out of the country to be sold.

While incidents of this type of crime have been collated from all areas of the capital from Balbriggan in the north to Donnybrook in the south, sources say that it is “relatively rare” that it occurs in inner city areas.

Out of the three detected hijacking crimes nationwide, gardai solved one of the incidents in Limerick with the other two detections happening in Dublin.

“At one stage, the offence of hijacking was a matter involving motor vehicles, for example there was 17 incidents of this type of crime in 2017 but the popularity of e-scooters has changed all that,” a source pointed out.

A typical example of the e-scooter hijack epidemic happened on March 6 when a 14-year was scooting through a park in Lucan when he was attacked by three people who viciously assaulted him and robbed his electric scooter before fleeing the scene.

While there have been no arrests in that case, gardai in Ballyfermot are following a definite line of enquiry in relation to a shocking incident in which six males attacked a 16-year-old who suffered head injuries in a canal attack last November.

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Sources say that what makes the entire issue especially difficult to police is that unlike the theft of vehicles such as cars or motorbikes, e-scooters are not legally registered to their owners.

Electric scooters have the ability to travel at between 20 km/h and 40 km/h and can have a value of over €2,000 at the higher end.

At a hearing of Dublin District Court last September, a judge heard that a then 14-year-old boy was arrested after he almost crashed an e-scooter into a patrol vehicle.

The boy, now aged 15, admitted driving without a licence or insurance on the evening of July 31, 2020.

Under the Road Traffic Act, the e-scooter is classed as a mechanically propelled vehicle but the policing of this legislation is not consistent throughout the country.

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