Thursday 18 October 2018

'I should have done something basic and got him a card' - Man jailed for stealing money for relative's birthday

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Fiona Ferguson

A prolific burglar caught after plain clothes gardai spotted him walking around in the early hours of the morning with a fire extinguisher has been jailed for two and half years.

James McGinley (40), who has 65 previous convictions including 30 for burglary, told gardai after his arrest that he had needed money as a relative's birthday was coming up.

“I should have done something basic and got him a card,” McGinley told gardai.

McGinley, of Westpark Drive, Finglas East, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary and criminal damage at Fitzwilliam Square West, Dublin 2, on the night of July 29 to 30th, 2017.

Detective Garda Cathal Feely told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting, that McGinley and a co-accused had broken into a Georgian building on Fitzwilliam Square housing a number of different business with separate offices.

A fire extinguisher taken from the main hallway had been used to force some of the office doors.

Six laptops and a mobile phone were taken from the offices. A solicitor's office had also been ransacked without anything being taken. The total damage caused in the building was €2,500.

Gda Feely said he and a colleague were on plain clothes duty that night in the vicinity of Baggot Street and saw two men acting suspiciously. One of the men was carrying a fire extinguisher and turned down a lane way, Windsor Place, where he discarded the extinguisher over a hedge.

The gardai arrested the men and all the stolen property from the offices was recovered.

McGinley's co-accused is awaiting sentencing in the District Court.

Gda Feely agreed with James Dwyer BL, defending, that McGinley had been a “conspicuous character” walking around Fitzwilliam Square with a fire extinguisher. He agreed McGinley made full admissions and had been co-operative. He has been in custody since his arrest.

Mr Dwyer said McGinley was a Glaswegian of Irish heritage who did not have an easy childhood. He said his client had got a job in Dublin but got involved in drug misuse.

He said McGinley was making efforts to break the cycle of offending and described the time he was spending in prison as a waste. He plans to return to return to his native Scotland on release.

Judge Cormac Quinn noted that the building was a commercial premises that was unoccupied and the property was recovered. He said McGinley had entered an early guilty plea and co-operated with the investigation.

Judge Quinn imposed a three year sentence and suspended the final six months.

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