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Failed PO raider caught 'plain as day' on camera

A man who tried to rob a post office was caught after he spent 20 minutes beforehand inside the building in full view of CCTV cameras.

Robert Grackovs (31) with an address at City Manor Hostel, Gardiner Street Lower, Dublin pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery of Tallaght Post Office, The Square Shopping Centre, on July 22, 2010. He was given a two-year sentence

Garda Sarah Denver told Vincent Heneghan, prosecuting, that Grackovs entered the post office around midday with a brown bag "shaped like a gun".

She said he pointed at the bag in a manner to suggest there was a gun in it and told staff at the post office to "put the money on the counter". Within 16 seconds he ran out emptyhanded.

Judge Tony Hunt said that the robber probably had a "failure of courage".

Garda Denver told Fiona Murphy, defending, that Grackovs spent around 20 minutes unmasked in the post office before coming back with his face partially hidden to carry out the robbery.

She said: "His image was plain as day on the CCTV."

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Grackovs also left a palm print on the counter which was used to link him to the crime.

He was arrested by gardai five days later when he went to collect his social welfare allowance in the welfare office across from the post office.

Garda Denver agreed that the customers in the post office went back to getting their cheques very shortly after the attempted robbery had ended.

Ms Murphy said her client had a heroin problem and had 23 previous convictions, mainly for theft.

She said the Latvian national described himself as a fool.

He sentenced him to two years, backdated to April 20 last, but suspended the final 12 months.