An organised burglary gang allegedly used a stolen high-powered sports car to carry out at least 10 raids on service stations in four counties in the past month.
The Traveller crew, based in Munster, used a black 191-reg 3.3 litre Kia Stinger.
Two key gang members aged in their 20s and 30s are in Garda custody after being arrested yesterday morning.
The mob is suspected of stealing the vehicle in Co Clare in late September and then using it for the crime spree.
“The modus operandi for this gang is to break into service stations at times like 3am and 4am where they then remove the safe and other valuable items like cigarettes,” a senior source said.
“They then drive away from the targeted locations at great speed in the high-powered car which has been recovered by gardaí,” the source added.
It is estimated the crime spree has yielded the gang tens of thousands of euro.
Gardaí announced details of their arrest operation yesterday.
“Gardaí have arrested two men in relation to approximately 10 incidents of burglary and theft in counties Tipperary, Clare, Cork and Limerick,” a spokesman said. “The burglaries took place at petrol stations, post offices and shops, over the last number of months with cash, cigarettes and safes taken.
“A car, believed to have been used during the course of the burglaries, was also seized and is currently being examined.
“The arrests took place as result of an intelligence led operation co-ordinated across the Southern Region over the last number of weeks.”