TWO men raided a long established Dublin chemist after handcuffing the 81-year-old owner and threatening him with a knife and screwdriver for over 30 minutes, a court has heard.
Alan Tunstead (43), a father of five, was sentenced to eight years with the final 18 months suspended for this and two other robberies.
The court heard that he and an unidentified accomplice jumped over a six foot wall surrounding the backyard of A C Boles Chemist while the owner William Boles was preparing to go home for the evening.
Tunstead later admitted to gardaí that the robbery had been pre-meditated and said he had watched Mr Boles’ movements the previous night. He said he had left a screwdriver in the backyard in preparation for the raid and that he knew the chemist “was fragile and an easy touch”.
Mr Boles had been working in the family pharmacy, on Emmet Road, Inchicore, for over 50 years. It first opened in 1928 and Mr Boles later told gardaí that there had never had an incident there before.
Mr Boles still works there and he later told Judge Mary Ellen Ring that retirement is “a word for the future”.
He also agreed with the judge that A C Boles was one of the first chemists, over 20 years ago, to dispense methadone despite protestations from some people in the local community.
Garda Peter Clifford said that Tunstead and the second man were wearing balaclavas. They handcuffed Mr Boles, forced him back into the shop and brought him up a number of flights of stairs to the top floor. He said the men were violent and aggressive and Mr Boles was terrified.
They threatened to cut the victim’s neck with the knife and he assumed they were going to throw him off the roof of the building. They then came back down the stairs and forced him to sit on the floor while they raided the dispensary for various medications.
Gardaí later had to cut the handcuffs from Mr Boles’ wrists with bolt cutters. He was left bruised and sore.
Tunstead of Benbulbin Road, Drimnagh, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three robberies between April 13, 2012 and May 2, 2012. He was on bail for the first robbery when he committed the second two.
He has 18 previous convictions for drugs, theft and road traffic, including a three year sentence for robbery.
Mr Boles told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting that he had been working full time, 60 hours per week, at the time of the robbery.
He read from his victim impact report and described being suddenly met by two males as he was leaving the chemist into a walled yard on May 2, 2012. He said one of the men had a large knife.
“Put your hands behind you back or we will stab you,” they said before they ordered him back into the shop.
He said he was handcuffed and made sit on the floor with his hands behind his back. The raiders went through his pockets and took the keys for his car, his shop and the safe before they went into the dispensary and took various medication. He said they continued to threaten him
“They loaded all their loot into a bag. They left me sitting on the floor and left the shop. They stole my car,” Mr Boles said before he explained that he closed the bottom bolt on the shop door with his foot and managed to press the panic alarm.
He took a taxi home that night and although he tried to relax he could not sleep. He phoned for an ambulance at 2.30am that night and has been on heart medication ever since.
“My quality of life has significantly decreased,” Mr Boles said.
He accepted that Tunstead wrote a letter of apology to him but Mr Boles said it would have meant more had it come earlier.
The court heard that Mr Boles has since spent €4,000 on the chemist to increase the security in the shop.