Jail for teenage raider given away by tattoos
A TEENAGER arrested on suspicion of committing a botched bank raid was identified by distinctive teardrop tattoos on his cheeks.
Joseph Myers (19), of Tuam Road, Galway, was jailed for two years yesterday for the attempted robbery of the Bank of Ireland, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, in which he brandished a small hatchet.
Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that the man had walked into the bank on July 22, 2009 and demanded a cashier put money into a plastic bag for him.
He was wearing a hoodie and a type of mask but was recognised by the official who refused to hand over any cash and ordered him to leave the bank.
The youth pulled out a small hatchet and threatened an elderly bank official before fleeing without any cash.
He was later arrested in Boyle, Co Roscommon. The court heard that Myers has two distinctive teardrop tattoos on each cheek and an 'x' tattooed on the back of his neck, which assisted in his identification.
He had a number of previous convictions for malicious damage, robbery and assault.
The court was told that Myers had a tragic past and had been placed in foster care with 16 different families before being adopted by his current parents.
His parents had also adopted his brother and another girl, both of whom had gone on to be upstanding citizens, one at college and the other in the army.
Defence counsel Peter Nolan told Judge John O'Hagan it was a mystery why Myers turned out to be the black sheep of the family.
"He was never going to get away with this. The bank official thought it was a joke, but what he did certainly wasn't a joke.
"It is a mystery why he turned out like this when his adopted mother and father have tried to do so much for him.
"All I can say is that he was influenced by older people on a number of occasions," he said.
Myers handed a handwritten letter of apology to the court.
Judge O'Hagan said he appreciated that Myers may be trying to turn his life around, now that he has become a father for the first time.
However, he said he must take into account the fact that Myers had so many previous convictions as well as the seriousness of the case.
He sentenced Myers to two years' imprisonment for attempted robbery and one year for using a weapon, with both terms to run concurrently.