A BURGLAR who caused thousands of euro of flood damage to a GAA clubhouse during a break-in was caught by an off-duty garda sergeant who was on the team.
Maruis Metta (24) was in the attic when the sergeant arrived with teammates for a training session to find water pouring from the ceiling.
Judge Catherine Staines issued a bench warrant for Metta's arrest and sentencing after he failed to appear in Dublin District Court.
Metta, of Killarney Street, Dublin 1, was convicted of burglary and criminal damage at the club in Chapelizod.
Sgt Dermot Cahill said he arrived at St Brigid's GAA club grounds at Colaiste Mhuire on Conyngham Road on March 2, 2010. The padlock on the door had been broken and the changing rooms were flooded, with water coming from the ceiling.
"I went to turn off the water and I saw a ladder going into the attic," he said. "At the foot of the ladder was a bag full of copper piping."
He heard voices in the attic and stopped two men, including Metta. The pair were wearing high-visibility jackets, had gloves on and were soaking wet.
Garda Graham O'Neill said when he arrived at the scene, the flood damage was extensive and a hole had also been punched in the plasterboard ceiling. Part of the water system had been dismantled and assembled in what appeared to be preparation for removal from the scene.
Principal of Colaiste Mhuire, Tomas O Murchu, said the school's sports grounds were on lease to St Brigid's GAA club. He said the facilities had been in working order before the break-in and the flood damage had cost €3,405 to repair.
He said only school personnel and members of the GAA club had permission to be on the premises. Judge Staines issued a warrant for the accused's arrest and sentencing. She said she hoped the question of compensating the school could be addressed when he came back before the court.