Gardaí have launched an internal inquiry after a highly sensitive intelligence document containing the names, addresses, pictures and car registrations of 20 gangland criminals was stolen from the back of a garda car parked at a Dublin station.
The Sunday Tribune has learned that the highly restricted Criminal Intelligence Bulletin was stolen from a squad car at a south Dublin garda station last Monday evening.
The list contained the names and personal details of key members of a Drimnagh-based gang involved in a feud that has resulted in 11 murders. Over recent months gardaí received information that members of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson's gang have moved to "safe" addresses in some of Dublin's leafiest suburbs, including Stepaside, Blackrock and Leopardstown. Senior management ordered the intelligence document be prepared so that officers would not be taken by surprise if the rival drugs gang involved in the feud with Thompson launched attacks on these addresses.
They were also afraid that innocent people could be caught up in grenade or pipe bomb attacks, which have frequently occurred in the past as part of the dispute.
The completed document was circulated to detectives in the south city and a warning in the bulletin said that it should not be left where members of the public could access it.
However, the document was stolen from an unattended garda vehicle parked in the supposedly secure station yard last Monday.
It is believed a minor figure from the rival gang, which is led by a criminal who is serving a lengthy jail sentence, came across the document during an opportunistic theft.
Gardaí believe it has since been copied and distributed to the main figures in the rival gang, who are deciding what to do with the information.
Senior gardai were immediately informed that the document was stolen and are very concerned.
Since the intelligence was collated, it is thought that several of the 20 named individuals may have moved on. This raises the possibility that totally unwitting and innocent people could be caught up in violence. Detectives have been in discussions as to how to respond to the security breach and are in the process of approaching the people listed in the document to give them security advice.
Less clear are the steps that should be taken if the criminals have moved from the addresses. Gardaí are conscious of needlessly alarming ordinary residents unless it is totally necessary.
In a statement given to the Sunday Tribune, garda spokesperson Kevin Donohoe said: "The gardaí are aware that a criminal intelligence document is in the possession of a member of the public. The document was compiled for garda use only and contains aspects of criminal intelligence, including some personal information.
"Gardaí are endeavouring to contact those named in the document and appropriate advice will be given. The circumstances in which this document ended up outside of the garda organisation is being actively investigated."