Serial armed carjacking suspect arrested after garda pursuit across two counties

Several garda units including a helicopter from the Air Support Unit were involved in the pursuit last night.

Garda helicopter

Ken Foy and Robin SchillerIndependent.ie

A suspected serial armed carjacker has been arrested following a garda pursuit across two counties last night.

Two males were arrested after cars were stolen in Kildare and west Dublin a short time apart.

One of the suspects in custody is also being investigated for involvement in three other recent armed hijackings and gardaí believe he has posted footage of the incidents on social media.

The first incident occurred at 9.15pm when a parked Clio was hijacked in Leixlip before being driven to Lucan where it was set alight.

A short time later, at 10pm, gardaí were alerted to another hijacking incident on Lower Main Street, in Lucan.

The driver of a Volkswagen Tiguan was threatened by two armed males before being forced from his car.

No injuries were reported, and the car was driven away.

Several garda units including a helicopter from the Air Support Unit responded and the car was located in Leixlip a short time later.

Two males, one in his 20s and a juvenile, were arrested a short time later in relation to the hijacking and criminal damage incidents.

They are both being held at Ronanstown Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and can be detained for up to 24 hours.

The older male in custody is also a suspect for several other recent hijackings and car thefts in recent weeks.

Gardaí believe the young man, who is from the Leixlip area, has also posted video footage of the incidents onto social media.

This includes the carjacking of a Volkswagen Tiguan which was taken from an underground car park in the Lucan area on February 6.

During the incident the victim, aged in his late 70s, was punched in the face before the car was driven away and later burnt out in Leixlip.

The carjacker is suspected of involvement in an incident which occurred at 7.30pm last Thursday in Castlewellan Park in Celbridge, Co Kildare.

A 38-year-old woman was threatened by a thug armed with a hammer as she was getting out of her Kia Sonic car outside her home.

The criminal then got in the vehicle and fled the scene with the vehicle last seen driving on the M4 motorway.

There have been no arrests in this case and the vehicle has not yet been recovered.

On the same evening at 8.45pm at the Estuary Roundabout near Dublin Airport a car pulled up in front of a VW Tiguan being driven by a woman.

A male occupant got out of this car, but the woman managed to reverse away and flee the scene before reporting the incident to gardaí.

Meanwhile sources say that there has been an increase in hijackings and attempted hijackings in recent weeks.

"So far this year there have been 20 reported hijackings, while the average previously would have been maybe one or two a month, so the recent numbers are off the charts.

"The man arrested for last night's incident is a suspect in four of these cases."

Recent garda figures show that the theft of vehicles has also continued to significantly increase in recent years.

There were over 4,000 vehicles reported stolen in 2022, a 52pc increase on 2021, and a 17pc increase on 2019 figures.

This, gardaí say, is driven by the theft of second-hand imported cars from outside the European market, which may be due to the lack of security features in the most commonly stolen imported vehicles.

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