Monday 23 July 2018

Teen pretending to be charity collector stole €10k of jewellery from elderly couple

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Fiona Ferguson

A Romanian teenager pretending to be collecting for charity stole €10,000 worth of jewellery from an elderly couple after asking to use their bathroom, a court has heard.

Nicolae Carmen, now aged 20, of Rosevale Court, Blakestown Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the theft of jewellery at the couple's house in Artane on October 2, 2015. She has 5 previous convictions for theft and fraud offences.

Garda Keith Cassidy told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that an 84-year-old man answered a knock to his front door. Carmen, then aged 18, told the man she was Spanish and was collecting for the starving in Africa. He gave her €5. She asked to use the bathroom and the man agreed.

Gda Cassidy said Carmen, who was wearing a shoulder bag, went upstairs while the man waited for her. She then returned downstairs, said thank you and left.

His wife later discovered jewellery to the value of €10,000 missing from a box in their bedroom.

The stolen jewellery included a diamond engagement ring, charm bracelet, gold chains, an eternity ring, earrings and cuff links. The collection had been built up over years and had huge sentimental value for the couple. None of the items were recovered.

A palm print taken from the front of the jewellery box was found to be a match for Carmen.

Gda Cassidy agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that this was a scam that was “not unknown” to gardaí in the area.

The court heard someone had taken the items from Carmen and they were sold in the city centre.

Gda Cassidy agreed with Mr Le Vert that Carmen would not have received anywhere near the actual value of the jewellery.

Mr Le Vert said Carmen had come to Ireland as a 14-year-old, having been married back in Romania that year. He said her husband worked in security and they had two children.

He said her other family members went to the UK when she was 16-years-old and she had been quite isolated here since.

Mr Le Vert said she had been sometimes working for legitimate charities and sometimes not. He said she had been introduced to this “scam” and was now extremely embarrassed.

He said she had received a prison term for a previous offence which was a “wake up call.”

Mr Le Vert said Carmen wished to apologise for the offence and she had the sum of €500 in court.

Judge Patricia Ryan, who described the offence as “mean and nasty”, adjourned sentencing until December to allow full details of Carmen and her husband's household income to be brought before the court.

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