A POLISH cafe owner stole jewellery worth nearly €20,000 in a Dublin city centre antique shop while a staff member was distracted, a court heard.
Jan Grabowski (56) pocketed diamond and pearl earrings and a brooch while maintaining he was making a purchase at the store.
The father-of-two was fined €500 and given a six-month suspended sentence at Dublin District Court.
Judge Michael Walsh suspended the sentence for 18 months on condition that the defendant leaves the country within 48 hours.
Grabowski, of no fixed address here, but who had been staying at a city centre hotel, pleaded guilty to stealing the earrings and brooch at Courtville Antiques, Powerscourt Townhouse Shopping Centre on April 9 last.
Detective Garda Des Rogers told the court the accused went into the premises and and proposed that he was going to buy some items from a display.
While the owner was distracted, he took the two items, worth a total of €19,950 and put them in his jacket pocket.
The incident was captured on CCTV and the accused was stopped on Grafton Street.
He was arrested, the property was recovered with the accused’s assistance and he made full admissions when interviewed.
Det Gda Rogers told Grabowski’s solicitor Philip Hannon that he had been able to retrieve the items in a fully saleable condition.
The accused was due to return to Poland and his flight ticket was in his luggage, the court heard.
Grabowski had worked in construction before starting a coffee shop business at home in Poland and had borrowed money to invest in this, Mr Hannon said. The venture had “gone sour,” he was under financial pressure, and unable to find suitable employment in his home town.
He came to Ireland where his son is living and where there were “certain opportunities,” Mr Hannon said.
The court heard both the accused and his wife suffered from depression and he had suffered a number of bereavement in recent years. Grabowski felt shame and remorse for having been involved in an “act of dishonesty of this nature,” Mr Hannon added.
“He saw what he perceived as an opportunity and took a chance.”
The accused had been in custody since his arrest, had “the last week to reflect” and wanted to leave this jurisdiction as soon as possible.
Judge Walsh said the gardai were to be commended for their “excellent attention to this matter.”
“This had all the hallmarks of a well-thought out, well-planned, opportunistic theft,” he said. “I have no doubt he entered the shop with the sole intention of stealing items and had a well-thought out plan.”