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Video captures moment burglary gang chase in Kildare ends in dramatic crash

The Audi smashed into a roundabout and flipped over near Lidl on the Newbridge Road in Naas on Tuesday evening

Neil Fetherstonhaugh, Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

The moment a chase involving a stolen high-powered Audi SQ5 ended in a dramatic crash has been captured on video.

The TikTok clip shows the car on its side with the passenger door opened by baton-wielding gardai as smoke pours from the vehicle.

The Audi had smashed into a roundabout at high speed and flipped over near Lidl on the Newbridge Road in Naas on Tuesday evening.

Five suspected members of one of the country’s most prolific burglary gangs, who were targeted following a massive surveillance operation, were arrested at the scene.

Three of them required hospital treatment for their injuries, including the youngest, a 19-year-old, who suffered a broken arm.

They were all released back into garda custody yesterday morning, including the oldest suspect, aged 46, who suffered facial injuries in the crash.

Gardaí believe the vehicle had been used by different members of the same gang on the country’s motorway network on most days since it arrived, with different false registration plates being placed on it.

The five men after they were arrested

They have been linked to more than 70 burglaries on both sides of the Border since it arrived in the country early last month with up to 40 of the burglaries in the Republic.

The other three suspected gang members all have addresses in the Tallaght area of Dublin. They include two men, aged 23 and 21.

The 21-year-old, from the Ardmore area of Tallaght, has been centrally involved in organised burglaries since he was a teenager.

Despite his youth, he has regularly come to the attention of garda intelligence for involvement in burglaries in which high-powered Audis with false plates have been used across the country.

All arrested suspects have links to the gang that was led by burglary gang boss ‘Fat’ Andy Connors, who was shot dead in an unsolved murder in August 2014.

One high-profile crime he has been investigated for was a burglary in Co Tyrone that was categorised by the PSNI as an attempted murder.

Police in the North have taken an active interest in the activities of the gang, who have been terrorising communities since the Audi was stolen in London on March 3.

At one stage it was suspected the gang were using Belfast as a base to target Armagh, Newry and Lisburn, where there were more than a dozen burglaries in just a few days, leading to police issuing a photo of the vehicle and a public appeal for information.

Half of the premises targeted in that spree were Indian and Chinese businesses.

In the other raids, safes from business people were robbed and bleach was used to destroy evidence by the gang.

They were also suspected of using Dublin as a base and using the same Audi in more than two dozen burglaries in Derry and Tyrone.

However, the gang’s crime wave was not confined to Northern Ireland – they are the chief suspects in the robbery of a jewellery store in Cootehill, Co Cavan, which happened at 3am on Tuesday of last week.

They are also suspected of carrying out a number of house burglaries in Co Meath, including in the Summerhill area, while using the same stolen vehicle.

The gang are suspected of carrying out six burglaries in one day in rural Meath earlier this month.

They are further believed to have carried out a large number of break-ins in Dundalk, Co Louth.

The Audi is believed to have been used in a burglary in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, in which a charity shop was targeted, and another commercial burglary in Tullow, Co Carlow, in which safes were stolen. A pub in Gowran, Co Kilkenny, was also targeted.

The car involved in the pursuit that crashed in Naas.

During the Tullow incident, the gang spent 45 minutes in the business and then loaded the safes into their vehicle before escaping back to Dublin via Castledermot, Co Kildare.

They are suspected of being prolific in the midlands as well and of carrying out at least two residential burglaries in Portlaoise, Co Laois, which happened during daylight hours, as well as a spree of burglaries in the Kinnitty area of Co Offaly.

They are further believed to have used the same vehicle to target a bookies in Co Tipperary.

One of the injured burglary suspects

They had been chased by gardaí on a number of occasions, including during a recent incident near Blessington, Co Wicklow, and when they fled at speed on the motorway after being disturbed while carrying out a break-in in Portlaoise.

However, their luck finally ran out on Tuesday evening following a major operation led by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

The suspected gang members were being monitored by specialist gardaí as their crime spree continued, which led to them being tracked to the Maynooth area shortly after 7pm.

This led to the high-speed chase, which also involved the garda helicopter.

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