Couple stole key to plane's emergency exit door in drunken 'prank' when they landed in Dublin Airport, court told
TWO passengers stole an aeroplane's emergency exit door key when they landed in Dublin airport in a drunken "prank" that could have cost the airline up to €30,000.
The couple had flown in for a wedding when they took the key, which would have prevented the plane taking off again if it had not been found.
They were left without criminal convictions when they admitted theft charges and made a €500 charity donation.
Larysa Markuslevska (41) and Anatolie Ilvitki (29) pleaded guilty to stealing the key, belonging to Air Moldova.
Dublin District Court heard the incident happened on August 29.
A garda sergeant said the key was recovered following a search.
"The plane would have been unable to fly and it could have cost the airline in the region of €30,000," she said.
Judge Grainne O'Neill questioned why the Director of Public Prosecutions had consented to summary disposal of the case in the District Court.
The sergeant replied that the value of the key itself was only €50. The charge was contrary to the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.
Judge O'Neill asked if there was any background or explanation. "It's believed that alcohol was consumed, judge," the sergeant replied.
The accused both apologised afterwards.
Ilvitki, of Cosbuc Street, Chisiuaic in Moldova had come to Dublin for a wedding. He is an anxious flyer and had been drinking "quite an amount on the plane over," his solicitor Brian Doherty said.
"He exited the plane with the key in his bag," he said.
It was a prank and the defendant only had a vague recollection of doing it, Mr Doherty continued.
"He didn't really think through the ramifications of keeping the key," he said.
Markuslevska, of Pishonovska Street, Odessa had "little or no idea what happened", and had been also quite intoxicated.
The defendants were due to return home hours after their court appearance. Mr Doherty said they had brought €200 to court but Judge O'Neill said she wanted them to make a larger donation than that.
"It would have been a very serious matter but I accept what you are saying about the condition they may have been in," Judge O'Neill said.
She said that "chaos would have ensued" if the key had not been retrieved.
She dismissed the charges under the Probation of Offenders Act after the defendants each made €250 donations to a Motor Neurone disease charity.
The proceedings were translated to the accused by an interpreter.