TWO bungling burglars were arrested when they went to a hotel and tried to drink their way through more than €120,000 taken from the home of their 80-year-old victim.
Malcolm Kelly (26) of Cool- ageela, Kanturk, and Ger Ryan (31) of Park View, Charleville, both Co Cork, were charged with burglary at a house in Kanturk.
They were also charged with multiple counts of causing criminal damage to the same property.
Det Gda Padraig Reddington said that on the night of last October 14 the elderly victim had gone out to visit a sick relative.
When he returned to his home in Kanturk, he found it had been broken into and ransacked. He said the men had found €123,000 in cash in a wooden chest in the house.
They had earlier staked out the address and returned when there was no one in.
After the theft, they travelled to a hotel in Cork city where their party became so loud that gardai were called.
They had women with them and were drinking alcohol and generally causing problems for hotel staff.
On arrival, gardai told Ryan that the management wanted him to leave.
As this was happening, members of staff opened a room safe and, with gardai present, found a large amount of money.
Kelly was not in the room at the time but returned when officers were present. He and Ryan were subsequently arrested for public order offences.
Inquiries by gardai determined that a large sum of money had been taken in the burglary of a house in the Kanturk area.
The pair, who were initially arrested for causing trouble in the hotel, were rearrested on suspicion of burglary.
Kelly claimed the money was the proceeds of drug dealing but later admitted its true origin. Ryan admitted his part and brought gardai to a location near the hotel where he had stashed another large sum of money.
In total, €101,000 of the money was recovered. The rest, around €22,000, is thought to have been paid to a man who had shown the burglars the house.
Det Gda Reddington said Kelly had two previous convictions for burglary.
Ryan, who lived in Limerick for a period, had convictions for discharging a firearm as well as 18 others including burglary, false imprisonment and arson.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that both men suffered from drink and drug problems and that Kelly was receiving disability allowance for an accident in which he lost an eye.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain said the offences were a serious matter and were at the "higher end of the scale".
He said that the maximum sentence of 14 years could not be imposed due to the early plea, but said the offence had caused serious upset to the victim.
"I am absolutely certain that the gentleman here suffered a very serious imposition when he came back to the house after visiting a loved one.
"It is significant that they came to the hotel to drink their way through the money. So much for remorse.
"It is very hard looking at Gerard Ryan – he is a professional. He gets out of jail and gets involved in a pre-planned burglary."
Judge O Donnabhain jailed both men for six years.
Ryan's sentence was suspended for the last year and Kelly's sentence was suspended for the last two years.
The victim did not wish to comment further.