The suspected criminal who is described as being “very credible and a very smooth talker” managed to fool dealership staff with an elaborate story that he was an employee of another car dealership and needed to take the vehicles for a test drive but failed to return with them.
He was arrested in the English capital yesterday afternoon and police seized two vehicles that he is suspected of stealing from south Dublin dealerships during a planned raid.
Another car that he is suspected of stealing from Maynooth, Co Kildare, earlier this month, – a VW Golf GTI is still unaccounted for and is suspected of being out the country.
The two cars that were recovered in London yesterday were an Audi A6 stolen from Lewis Motors in Cabinteely valued at €60,000 as well as a VW Touran stolen from another well known dealership based in Blackrock, south Dublin just days earlier.
It is understood that the VW Golf that was stolen in Maynooth was the third high-end car to be stolen by the same criminal.
“In each case the modus operandi was much the same in that the individual who drove off in the vehicles and did not return them was very convincing with the staff he dealt with,” a senior source said.
“He engaged the staff in conversation which displayed an intimate knowledge of the motor trade and the car that he was targeting on the particular day.
“The suspect always wore a facial mask and baseball hat which helped to hide his identity from CCTV and so on.
“But he has a lot of explaining to do now to English police and gardai at a later stage about how those cars ended up in London,” the source explained.
Indpendent.ie can reveal that the arrested man is from the Clonsilla area of the capital.
When contacted Alan Lewis who owns Lewis Motors said that he was “absolutely delighted” that his stolen €60k car has been recovered.
Mr Lewis had made an appeal for information on social media after the Audi was stolen in broad daylight on May 7 last in which he posted images of the suspect and the car that was taken by the well-spoken conman.
While Mr Lewis is not sure how or when he will get his car back from England, he paid tribute to the investigating work carried out on his case particularly by Dun Laoghaire garda station who worked “tirelessly on the investigation” according to the experienced car dealer.
“It was a big shock for this to happen to us and we will change our processes now in the aftermath of it. It is a relief to know that we will be getting the car back,” he added.
Meanwhile in a completely separate investigation gardai have not yet recovered stolen black coloured VW Golf R-Line car which is suspected of being used in a number of burglaries by an organised gang based in Tallaght.
This is despite the fact that specialist detectives recovered a key for that vehicle during a raid in Tallaght on Monday.
Gardai are liaising with English police to determine if the car had been stolen in Northern England earlier this year by the gang.
Among the burglaries being investigated by specialist detectives is a sickening daylight attack on the garda’s home on the evening of May 1 last.
The gang caused huge damage to a garda’s home when they broke into the unoccupied property after discovering the officer’s official notebook when they ransacked the house.
“There was nothing of material value for them to take so they just smashed the place up because they discovered they were in the home of a garda,” a senior source said.
The gang are the same crew who are suspected of using a stolen Mercedes to target luxury homes in south Dublin in recent weeks.
No arrests were made in Monday’s operation targeting the notorious and prolific gang who are said to be “very annoyed” about the seizure of three of their vehicles, none of which are believed to be stolen.