dpa

DUBLIN — A man was arrested early on Saturday by Irish police investigating the theft of thousands of bicycles over the past year.

According to a police statement, the arrest took place “following the search of a house in County Cavan [bordering Northern Ireland]” the previous day.

Police said that the operation followed the discovery late last year of 116 stolen bicycles in a container in the capital Dublin.

Police said they seized 13,000 euros (15,477 dollars) in cash and froze a further 122,500 euros held “in various bank accounts.” Gardaí, as Irish police are called, also seized memory sticks “containing photographs of suspected stolen property, including bicycles.”

Over 2,500 bicycles have been stolen across Ireland during the first half of the year, according to police records. There was a 40-per-cent jump in thefts in June, after the lifting of restrictions on movement related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 434 out of the 600 reported thefts in June took place in Dublin, where bike bandits are notoriously brazen. In March, a troupe of thieves were reported to police after being filmed using angle-grinders to sever locks before pedalling off with their plunder.

Ireland’s purloined pedal woes go back far enough to lend themselves to local literary tropes, with Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, a comedy novel written around 1940, ending with a police sergeant greeting the already dead visitors to his station by asking: “Is it about a bicycle?”

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