The gang ripped the cylinders from seven apartments at the complex behind Heaton Buckley Builders Suppliers on the town’s Port Road.
However the gang was thwarted by local security officers from Orbit Security.
The company was carrying out routine security checks when they spotted a man acting suspiciously at 10pm last night.
The man fled and the security officers contacted Gardai.
A follow-up search of the vacant complex found a considerable amount of damage had been caused.
A door and a window had ben smashed and considerable flood damage was caused.
A large truck and also tools used by the gang was also left behind when the gang fled.
Martin Hilferty of Orbit Security said there has been a large increase in the theft of such household materials.
“There has been a dramatic increase in this type of crime and there is a market for the stolen materials.
“It reinforces the argument that vacant properties need to be secured in the current economic climate,” he said.