Saturday 20 January 2018

Shelbourne Hotel luggage thief jailed for nine months

Andrew Phelan

A DAD-of-one who stole jewellery and clothing from guests' luggage as they checked out of Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel has been jailed for nine months.

William Duff (39) took two jackets and jewellery worth a total of €1,600 from baggage as patrons waited inside the hotel's reception.

Judge Michael Walsh sentenced him at Dublin District Court after hearing that the theft had been opportunistic and that there had been no element of pre-planning. But Duff had 91 prior convictions.

Duff, with an address at Doon Court, Poppintree, Dublin, pleaded guilty to stealing jewellery worth €1,000 and two jackets worth €600 from the hotel on January 13 last.

The court heard the defendant, who has a troubled background, was held by hotel staff before gardai arrested him.

A garda sergeant told the court officers were on patrol at 4pm when they were approached by staff from the hotel.

The employees were holding onto the accused who had two jackets with him. They said he had entered the hotel when people were checking out at reception and removed the jackets, worth €600 and the jewellry worth €1,000 from luggage.

Duff was arrested and charged.

The court heard he had a total of 91 previous convictions for theft, possession of knives, motoring and other offences.

Duff came from a troubled background, had left school early and ended up in a detention centre as a youth. He had a long standing drug addiction and at the time of the offence, he was on tablets and alcohol.

“This offence was purely opportunistic, there was no element of pre-planning in it”, his lawyer said.

The accused was now serving a sentence for a separate crime and had a release date of June 4.

“The fact of the matter is he has 91 previous convictions, a number of them under the Theft and Fraud Act and this was an opportunistic theft”, Judge Walsh said.

It was fortunate for the victim that the property was recovered in an undamaged state, the judge added.

Irish Independent

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