Thursday 19 September 2019

Teenager with 71 convictions sentenced for €10k theft spree

The teen was given an eight month custodial sentence. (stock photo)
The teen was given an eight month custodial sentence. (stock photo)

Tom Tuite

A DUBLIN youth with 71 prior criminal convictions and “an ambivalent attitude to law breaking” was given an eight-month custodial sentence today for a €10,000 theft spree.

Dublin Children’s Court heard the boy, 17, stole about €6,000 worth of jewellery from a car parked at a service station, he took sunglasses priced €500 from Brown Thomas and once escaped from custody by fleeing from a Garda car on the M50.

Out of 71 previous offences, Judge Brendan Toale noted that 57 were thefts. The teenager faced sentence today for an additional 10 offences and Judge Toale held the threshold for a custody had been reached.

The teenager, who was accompanied to court by his father, spoke only to confirm he was pleading guilty.

The court heard that on August 12 last year at an Applegreen Service station on the M1 he took property worth €6,200. It included a diamond bracelet and other pieces of jewellery, an ipod as well as US$400 from a car parked there.

He then filled up the car he was travelling in with fuel and left with no attempt to pay, however, gardai identified him from security camera footage and later recovered most of the stolen goods.

The teenage thief stole a bike worth €800, and which has yet to be recovered, from an apartment building in Dublin 2 on December 3 last.

On February 1 last, he stole two mobile phones each worth €299 from a Tesco store in Naas, Co. Kildare.

He stole a television valued €549 from a Tesco outlet, in Finglas, Dublin, on another date.

Judge Toale heard the teenager’s escape from custody in March 2018 was in connection with his arrest and questioning for another offence. Gardai were bringing him back to the Oberstown Detention Centre where he was serving a sentence.

He had not been in restraints because he was not acting aggressively and got out of the unlocked garda car as it was in slow moving traffic on the M50. He ran away and remained at large for two days.

The teen stole sunglasses from Brown Thomas on Grafton Street but the court the €500 shades were recovered.

He stole another mobile phone from Tesco outlet on November 29 last year, but it was recovered later.

He also had a charge for being intoxicated to such an extent in public that he was a danger to himself and others, and a charge for failing to come to an earlier hearing resulting in a bench warrant.

Defence counsel Sarah Connolly asked the court to note the teenager had been accompanied by other people during his crimes. Pleading for leniency, she said a probation report showed the teenager had an “ambivalent attitude to law breaking”.

Risk factors identified in a probation report included associating with negative peers, impulsive behaviour and “a pro-criminal lifestyle”.

He needed education and "some level of structure" but he had limited insight into the impact of his offending on others, counsel said.

He had previously served a 11-month and has been in custody for the past month on remand. The court heard he is now involved in education since going into custody.

Counsel also asked the judge to take into account that the boy, who cannot be named because he is still a minor, had pleaded guilty to all the offences.

After the case concluded, the boy’s father waved goodbye to his son and said “thanks very much” to the judge.

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