A chronic drug addict who was on bail when he robbed a garage with tweezers while wearing a PPE mask has been jailed for six years over a spate of raids.
In one robbery Mark Kenny (48) held a weapon to the throat of a 65-year-old woman while in a separate raid he punched a man in the face as he fled.
A Garda detective also told Dublin Circuit Court that he did not expect the accused to survive and make it to trial because of his drug addiction.
Kenny, of Cherry Orchard Grove in Ballyfermot, was sentenced today after he pleaded guilty to three separate robberies across Dublin.
He was out on bail for the previous incidents when he carried out the most recent raid at the Maxol garage on Walkinstown Avenue on April 18 last.
The court heard that after he was arrested by Det Gda Micheál Muldoon he told the officer he was cycling past the store when he made a decision to rob it.
He entered the garage wearing a navy jacket, blue gloves and a PPE mask before threatening the shop worker with a weapon.
The court heard that this was a pair of tweezers opened up to look like a blade, and the worker believed it to be a knife. He told the shop assistant not to press the panic alarm and said: "Give me the 50s."
Kenny then fled the scene on a red push bike with around €400 in cash.
Det Gda Muldoon, of Sundrive Road Garda Station, said he was on patrol when he was alerted to the robbery and responded to the call.
While searching the area he came across an individual at the Kylemore Luas stop wearing a white t-shirt.
Det Gda Muldoon said he thought this was odd as the weather conditions were very cold at the time.
Upon closer inspection he noted a discarded navy jacket on the Luas track and a red bicycle nearby. Mark Kenny was arrested and brought to Crumlin garda station where he made full admissions. The cash was also recovered from his waist band. The court heard that the shop worker continues to be nervous of people coming into the shop wearing PPE masks which is a regular occurrence due to the current pandemic.
Mark Kenny also pleaded guilty to two previous robberies carried out in 2019.
Det Gda Nathan McKenna gave evidence of a raid at the Paddy Power bookmakers on the South Circular Road in Rialto on March 19, 2019.
He said that during the robbery a 65-year-old woman was grabbed by the neck before having a weapon held to her throat.
Det Gda McKenna said CCTV footage couldn't determine what the implement was but added that it could have been a bookies pen.
Kenny told the employee "give me the 50s" and made off with over €300 in cash. Following an investigation he was identified and charged.
The detective told the court that for as long as he has known him the accused has been "in the trawls of addiction" and didn't think he'd survive to see a trial.
The accused also pleaded guilty to a third count of robbery and assault causing harm at Boylesports on Capel Street on 11 January, 2019.
During the raid the robber grabbed a customer by the neck and held a knife to his throat before making off with €190. The money was never recovered.
Det Gda Sheila Sheahen, of Store Street garda station, said the suspect was later identified as Kenny following a review of CCTV footage.
The court also heard that as he fled the bookmakers he punched a customer in the face.
Judge Sarah Berkeley was told the accused had 43 previous convictions, including 12 for robbery and one for attempted robbery.
She noted the serious nature of the offences in which weapons were used and that they were carried out while the defendant was on bail.
In mitigation she considered his guilty pleas, his personal circumstances and that he had tried to rehabilitate himself previously.
Judge Berkeley sentenced him to five years imprisonment for each of the bookmaker robberies, to run concurrently, and handed down a three year jail term with the final two years suspended for the petrol station raid. She said this is to run consecutively to the other sentences.