Wednesday 21 March 2018

Man who used clothes hanger to fish letters out of post-boxes avoids jail

Stock picture
Stock picture

Sonya McLean and Conor Gallagher

A man who was using a specially adapted clothes hanger to fish letters out of post-boxes minutes after they had been delivered has been given a suspended sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that John Findi (38) agreed with gardaí on arrest that “fishing things from letterboxes was his thing.”

“I am not working. Life hard for me,” Findi said in interview after he admitted that he had retrieved a credit/debit card from one letterbox and was returning to the same address in the hope that he could get the PIN.

“I go to ATM and take money. I am not bad man,” he continued. “Honestly I can't find work. I don't have accommodation. I am living here 19 years,” Findi said.

He told gardaí that “a friend showed me what to do. He said you can find cards”.

Findi of Rathkeele in Clondalkin, Dublin but originally from Ghana pleaded guilty to four charges of stealing from various people on dates between July 25 and September 1, 2015. His previous convictions are for road traffic convictions.

Garda Gary Dunne agreed with Judge Martin Nolan that although Findi stole two savings certificates from one woman, he would not have been able to withdraw the cash, a total of €85,000, without the lady's signature.

A number of cheques which were also stolen were not cashed. None of the victims suffered a financial loss.

Judge Nolan said Findi was operating his own “get rich quick scheme” until gardaí staked out a letterbox and caught him in the act. He imposed a three year sentence which he suspended in full for three years.

Gda Dunne told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that a woman contacted the gardaí in Dun Laoghaire after she noticed a man hanging around letterboxes in the apartment complex she was living in minutes after the post had been delivered.

The following day gardaí saw Findi arrive at the letterboxes ten minutes after the postman had left. They saw him remove an adapted coat hanger from his backpack and try to open some boxes.

Findi's BMW, which was parked nearby, was searched following his arrest and a woman's credit/debit card was found in it along with another person's driving license.

Saving certificates, cheques and a bank statement belonging to two other people were found in Findi's home after a garda search.

Findi denied during interview that he had been following the postman and claimed he turned up at random at the complex to search the post-boxes.

Gda Dunne agreed with Aoife O'Leary BL, defending, that her client had made successful legal claims following a car accident and an incident in a supermarket which led to his social welfare payments being terminated.

He accepted that Findi had financial troubles at the time of his arrest and was on pain medication for a back problem. Ms O'Leary said her client had four children in Ghana. He was hoping to get work as a taxi-driver.

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