A MAN who was caught covered with red dye minutes after he stole a cash box from a security van has been sentenced to four and a half years in jail, with the final 18 months suspended.
Seamus Rooney (50) told gardaí that the dye, which was contained within the box as a security measure, had exploded on him after he had banged the box on the ground while snatching it.
He said the robbery was unplanned and a “a spur of the moment” decision. He had being drinking and taking tablets and methadone for hours beforehand.
Rooney of St Mary's Mansions, Railway Street, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of €2,220 in cash from David Collins on Buckingham St, Dublin on May 15, 2011.
Garda Keith Bracken told Geraldine Small BL, prosecuting, that Mr Collins had been carrying out cash-in-transit deliveries for Group 4 Securicor.
He said that at around 2pm Mr Collins was carrying out a cash pick up at Bord Gais Offices when Rooney came up to him and starting screaming “Give me the money, I have a gun.”
Rooney was holding his hand in his pocket in a way that suggested he was armed. He grabbed the cash box with both hands and began pulling it from Mr Collins.
He continued to scream at the victim: “I’m going to kill you for it.” He went to move his hand and Mr Collins thought he might pull a knife or a syringe and he let go of the cash box.
Rooney was found covered in the red dye shortly afterwards in the nearby St Mary’s Mansions and was arrested.
Gardaí said Mr Collins was “shaking like a leaf” when they came to his aid and that he has since suffered stress about his work and has had to undergo counselling.
Garda Bracken agreed with Martina Baxter BL, defending, that her client was not the brightest of men and this wasn’t the most cunning of plans.
The court heard he has 191 previous convictions including 28 burglaries, eight robberies, 50 thefts and six assaults.
Rooney told Judge Mary Ellen Ring that he was ready to give up drugs, drink and crime and wanted to spend time with his grandchildren.
Judge Ring cited a probation report which said Rooney is at very high risk of re-offending and has shown little motivation to address those risks.
She said that Rooney is still on 50mls of methadone a day and has a long way to go before he is drug-free, leaving her no option but to impose a custodial sentence.
The judge backdated the sentence to February 8, 2013.