Burglar sold €190k jewellery for €500 of heroin
A burglar who stole a safe containing €190,000 worth of jewellery which he sold "as scrap" for €500 worth of heroin has been jailed for four years.
Gerry Connors (28) told gardaí he hopped over the garden wall of the house in Killiney, Dublin, to urinate and peered in a window. He spotted a glass jar full of coins and smashed a window with a rock.
He then went through the house and discovered the safe, which also had €10,000 in various currencies, in a press.
Connors said he shouted to some friends of his that had been with him before he hopped over the wall and asked them for help. He then "pegged" the safe over the balcony before "pegging" it over the wall.
He told gardaí that he and his friends left in a van and brought the safe back to a halting site where he went through it. He thought the jewellery was "scrap" and exchanged it for €500 worth of heroin.
Detective Garda Kieran Murphy told James Dwyer, prosecuting, that the couple who owned the house were on holidays at the time.
He said €50,000 worth of damage was caused to the property as it had been completely "trashed".
He confirmed that the family were therefore at a total loss of €250,000, but said their insurance company paid out.
Connors had also carried out a burglary two months earlier in Shankill, where he stole car keys and items to the value of €2,000. He initially took a trial date, but didn't show up for his case in November 2011. Gardaí later discovered he had fled to England and was serving a prison term there.
A European arrest warrant was secured and he was returned to Ireland in October 2014. Connors, with an address at Rathmichael Halting Site, in Shankill, then pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary in Shankill on April 1, 2009, and burglary in Killiney on June 16, 2009.
He has 115 previous convictions, including 90 for road traffic offences and 12 for burglary. He got a three-year sentence for burglary in June 2010.
Judge Martin Nolan said Connors had caused gratuitous damage and "struck it lucky" when he discovered the safe.
"He didn't appreciate what he had found and got very small recompense for what he stole," the judge added, before saying good garda work led to strong evidence against him.
Blood stains found in the Killiney house linked Connors to the scene, the court heard.