A 16-YEAR-OLD Dublin boy broke into 14 cars over two days to pay back a drug debt to a group of “heavies” who intimidated his family, a judge has heard.
The first-time offender had been doing well in school and active in sports until he began abusing “street tablets”, which led to him build up a massive drug-debt, the Dublin Children’s Court was told.
Following a garda investigation, it was established he broke into 14 cars during a two-day crime spree, and when he came to court he pleaded guilty to 15 criminal damage charges.
He also admitted possessing a long piece of steel and a hammer for use in thefts, theft of €5 and a bottle of aftershave, and one for attempted burglary.
All the incidents happened in the Dublin 7 area at houses at Villa Park Road, Villa Park Gardens and Villa Park Drive, on December 4, and at Croke Patrick Road on January 24 last.
Evidence has yet to be heard on the bulk of the charges but Judge John O’Connor was given details of the attempted burglary.
Garda Adrian Burns told the juvenile court that a report had been received of a number of car break-ins.
Gda Burns spotted the youth coming out of a garage and trying to hide before he was arrested.
When detained for questioning the boy, who had no criminal convictions, made admissions.
The teen was accompanied to the hearing by his mother, who was visibly upset.
Defence solicitor Gareth Noble explained that “this is a young man who has never been before the courts before” and the crimes happened at a time the boy had become heavily addicted to “tablets he procured on the street”.
He was in school and was involved in sports but both “fell by the wayside”.
The teen was under influence of pills when the offences took place and his “memory is somewhat blighted”, the judge heard.
Mr Noble said they were “visited on occasions by a number of local heavies asking for the money back”.
“To do that, they suggested he get the money whatever way he could,” the lawyer also said.
Judge O’Connor was also told that the boy was given a “time-scale to get it back”.
The lawyer asked the judge to note that the teenager had pleaded guilty to all the charges.
He would work with the Probation Service and try to reimburse the car owners, the court was told.
Judge O’Connor adjourned the case until July when a pre-sentence probation report is to be furnished to the court.