The two were in custody last night after being foiled in West Limerick as they were about to embark on a series of planned house break-ins.
The two, both in their 20s, were arrested after a group of people in Abbeyfeale interrupted them as they were in the process of breaking into a house in the town in the early hours of the morning.
Residents had staked out a residential area on being alerted through texts that two strangers had been seen acting suspiciously.
As the local group closed in, the two criminals took a car from outside the house they were about to burgle and sped off.
The locals gave chase in their own cars and were joined by a garda car.
The would-be burglars drove into a cul-de-sac and when cornered ran through the back gardens of houses. A short time later they were found hiding in undergrowth and were arrested. The two were taken to Newcastle West Garda Station and are due in court.
Gardaí believe they had travelled to Abbeyfeale with the intention of carrying out burglaries in specific houses which had been identified to them by associates.
These associates act as “spotters” in the West Limerick area for outside criminal gangs who move through wide areas of the country.
A source said: “They came from Dublin with the intention of going to a number of addresses where they expected to find jewellery and other valuables. The response from local people was terrific and on alerting gardaí, a successful search and arrest operation swung into action. This shows how local people, through vigilance and contact with the gardaí, can help fight the activities of long-distance criminal gangs.”
Meanwhile, armed members of the Garda regional support unit were called into Askeaton yesterday amid heightened tensions among members of the Traveller community.
A woman aged in her 30s received a serious leg woundwhen she was attacked by another person wielding a knife