Criminals dressed as construction workers smashed their way into three businesses before dawn and grabbed cash from registers before speeding away.
The shops that were targeted are all just yards from the Garda station in Stepaside, South Co Dublin, that was closed down five years ago.
Gardaí have collected high- quality CCTV footage and made an arrest within hours of the crime spree.
The burglaries began at 6.15am yesterday when a dark Renault Megane or Fluence car drove into Stepaside.
One man stayed in the car while his accomplice, dressed in a hi-viz jacket and with face covered, smashed his way into the Fleming’s Butcher shop and robbed the contents of a cash register.
He then turned his attention to the Simply Fresh fruit and vegetable shop next door.
CCTV footage shows him using a hammer to hit the glass more than a dozen times before standing back and then kicking it in.
Afterwards, he was driven around the corner to the Borza take-away.
At the chip shop the raider again smashed the shop with a hammer, pulling out a cash register tray.
The dark Renault was then seen by witnesses driving out of the village in the direction of Enniskerry.
“This just shows how important it is to get the Garda station open again. It should never have closed,” said Paolo Borza as he surveyed the damage in his take-away
“It just made Stepaside a target for robberies.”
Michael Fleming of Fleming’s Butchers, who is also chairman of the Stepaside Business Association, added: “The community is living in fear. My shop was broken into less than a year ago,” he added.
At the Simply Fresh store manager Keith Moran was also sweeping up shattered glass. “These guys have no fear of being caught,” he said.
A man in his 20s was held in Dundrum garda station under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act for questioning.
Transport Minister and local TD Shane Ross said Stepaside will remain defenceless until the Garda Station re-opens next year.
“Delays have invited unwelcome elements who can carry out these types of crimes at will,” he said.
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