Saturday 16 December 2017

Frustrated customer imprisoned broadband salesman

Declan Brennan and Conor Gallagher

A FRUSTRATED customer falsely imprisoned a cable TV salesman after waiting at home for two days for an engineer from the company to show up.

Dariusz Pelc (38) threatened to cut the UPC salesman's fingers off and told him he would kill him if his broadband wasn't installed within 24 hours.

He was given a four-year suspended sentence yesterday and ordered to return to his native Poland to serve an outstanding two-year sentence for threatening behaviour.

His co-accused, Lukasz Pietruch (31), who assaulted the salesman, was sentenced to three months, suspended on condition that he hands over €1,750 in compensation to the victim.

Pelc, of Old Court Lodge, Firhouse, Dublin, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and making threats. Pietruch, of Ballymount Cottages, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to assault.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring promised to jail Pelc if he gets into trouble upon his return to Ireland. She said it was understandable that he was frustrated at UPC's behaviour but that his response was completely inappropriate.

The judge noted that Pietruch played a smaller role in the incident but said he should have tried to restrain Pelc.

Garda Emer Tomkins told prosecuting counsel Maurice Coffey that the victim, Albert Kazmierczak (24), worked with UPC Telecoms, selling TV and internet packages door to door.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that on April 13, 2010 the salesman cold-called to the home of Pelc and offered to sign him up to a broadband and TV package.

Pelc handed over details of his wife's passport and his bank account and agreed to set up a direct debit for €50 a month.

Mr Kazmierczak told the Polish father of one that an engineer would call to install the broadband on April 19 and that he should stay at home.

The court heard that Pelc became frustrated after taking two days off work to wait for the cable engineer, who never showed up.

Pelc came to the conclusion that Mr Kazmierczak was a "cowboy" who had conned him and he came up with a plan to confront the salesman.

He got a female friend to call the victim and pretend that she wanted to buy broadband. She asked Mr Kazmierczak to call to a house at Ballymount Cottages in Clondalkin.

When the salesman entered the house, Pelc and three other men, including Pietruch (31), told him that he wasn't going anywhere until he sorted out Pelc's broadband.

Traumatic

The victim tried to reassure Pelc that he was a genuine employee of UPC but Pelc threatened to get a garden shears and cut his fingers off if he didn't tell him the truth.

Gda Tomkins said that when the victim tried to get up and leave, Pietruch pushed him back in the chair and held him against his will.

The victim then rang his boss at UPC and Pietruch spoke to this man, who confirmed that the victim worked for UPC.

The victim told Pelc he'd have his broadband installed the next day. Pelc told him he had 24 hours to sort out his broadband or he would kill him.

The "traumatic" ordeal lasted around 40 minutes. After Pelc left, the victim began crying down the phone to his boss.

The court heard that Pelc has no previous convictions here but is wanted in Poland to serve a sentence in relation to an incident involving the threatening use of violence.

In a victim-impact statement Mr Kazmierczak said he still had trouble sleeping.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said the crime was premeditated and planned and that Pelc had a history of using violence against others.

Irish Independent

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