The gang have used the method during a number of successful break-ins across Donegal over the Christmas period.
At least three premises in Letterkenny have ben broken into using the method.
The scam has prompted Gardai to appeal to business owners to review their security systems.
Division Crime Prevention Officer Sgt Paul Wallace said businesses need to review their physical and electronic security systems.
“These gangs have been watching key-holders to determine how long it takes them to respond to alarms being triggered.
“They then know how long they have to enter a premises and steal goods. They have been doing this over the Christmas period.
“Business-owners need to review and beef up their security systems or face being the next victim on the list of these guys. Business-owners need to work with Gardai in protecting their premises,” he said.
And Sgt Wallace said that members of the public who buy stolen goods are also adding to the crime industry.
“It is a known and established fact that criminals are targeting business premises in order to steal high value goods which are then being sold off at knock down prices. Members of the public who are purchasing items from dubious sources at prices considerably lower than normal retailing prices are contributing to the growth industry at this time of year- Crime’.
Advice to Business Owners / Operators:
1. Liaise with the installer of the intruder alarm system and ensure that the system is operating correctly and is fit for purpose.
2. All Commercial Premises require secondary signalling to the monitoring station to ensure coverage during an electrical or telephone line outage.
3. Installers of Intruder Alarm systems must be registered with the P.S.A (Private Security Authority) further information at www.psa.ie .
4. Alarms installed in commercial premises should achieve European Norm En 50131-1 standard. This is the consumer’s safe guard.
5. CCTV should also be fit for purpose, capable of capturing images during hours of darkness. Interior lighting of a premises should be linked to the alarm system so that it becomes operational in the event of an alarm activation to aid the cctv capture quality images.
6. CCTV hard drives should be placed in a secured area in order to safeguard against theft.
7. The physical security of your premises is of paramount importance – Strong Doors, Shutters, Window grills are basic requirements to defeat the criminal.
8. Cash should not be left on premises overnight – A crime opportunity is being created.
By reviewing security and creating layers of protection by physical and electronic barriers it is possible to target harden business premises. Layers if protection in a building which are capable of withstanding robust sustained attack will defeat the criminal.
By Being Aware, Informed & Secure a lot of these Crimes are preventable. If something strikes you as not being the norm, it usually is, take steps to investigate.
Residents in the community are particularly asked to become more vigilant for the movement of vehicles late at night or early in the morning. The noting of Registration numbers, Colour and if possible the make and model of vehicles should be forwarded to local District Headquarters stations (see below) which are open on a 24/7 basis & should be contacted immediately.
This information can be considered for further dissemination amongst the community via the Community Text Alert Scheme which are in operation in conjunction with Community Alert in various areas throughout the County.
Text Alert is designed to facilitate immediate and cost effective communication from An Garda Siochana to the public working in conjunction with Community Crime Prevention initiatives i.e. Community Alert & Neighbourhood Watch .
Owners of businesses in all areas should also review security in and around their homes. Advice and guidance is available at www.garda.ie / crime prevention.
Your Local District Headquarters 24/7 Service Garda Stations are:
Letterkenny 91-67100 / Buncrana 93-20540 / Milford 91-53060 & Ballyshannon on 071-98-51102
Remember 999/112 in cases of emergency