'significant arrest' | 

Criminal linked to burglary crime wave arrested for violent break-in while collecting his dole

As well as suffering a head wound, the victim of the Carlow burglary needed stitches for a leg injury.

Gardaí had been monitoring the suspect's movements© PA

Ken FoyIndependent.ie

A criminal linked to a wave of burglaries has been arrested in relation to a violent break-in at the home of a 64-year-old man.

Gardaí have been carrying out an investigation into the aggravated burglary on the night of Saturday, July 2 in the Graiguecullen area of Carlow town.

The victim of the violence needed around a dozen staples in a head wound.

Officers quickly identified a 36-year-old suspect, and the man was arrested during a surveillance operation on Wednesday when he went to collect his unemployment benefit in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

A female associate of the suspect has been identified as a person of interest in the case after a car connected to her was found burned out in Athlone, Co Westmeath, just hours after the burglary in Carlow.

She was arrested in a separate operation in the midlands yesterday.

Gardaí have been monitoring the movements of the couple for several weeks.

“These are significant arrests. It was a very bad crime and the innocent target did not deserve the ordeal he suffered,” a source said.

“This gentleman is very well-known in local GAA circles and people were shocked that he was put through that trauma. People are still looking out for him after what happened last month.”

The man arrested on Wednesday, whose base is in the Tullamore area, has been linked to a crime wave throughout the country that stretches back a decade.

He has convictions for multiple burglaries, including incidents in which elderly people have been targeted.

The criminal has served a number of jail sentences, and was caught with an illegal mobile while in Castlerea Prison.

He is also involved in drug dealing.

“This individual has been terrorising people on an almost national level – you’re talking about Dublin, Meath, Cavan as well as the south-east,” a source said.

“He’s a bad one, that’s for sure, and is refusing to co-operate with the garda investigation in any way.”

The suspect has also been involved in a number of violent family feuds over the years.

As well as suffering a head wound, the victim of the Carlow burglary needed stitches for a leg injury.

It was previously revealed that a sum of only around €100 was taken from the vulnerable man during the late-night break-in.

He was attacked by three masked men when he went to investigate a noise at the back of his property.

Gardaí have been working on the theory that local criminals gave “bogus intelligence” to the burglary gang, saying there may have been a significant amount of cash in the man’s home.

Officers had gathered a significant amount of CCTV footage and witness statements, plus an Evo-Fit image of the suspect, before they arrested him as he collected his dole money.

While gardaí across the country are concerned that burglary figures are starting to creep toward pre-pandemic levels, Garda HQ released figures this week that showed they have trended “significantly downwards” in the longer term.

An Garda Síochána’s Operation Thor has been credited for a decline in the number of reported break-ins.

Residential burglaries are up 33pc on last year, but are down 38pc compared with 2019.

Thefts are up 164pc on last year, but 46pc below the 2019 figures.

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