AN AIRLINE passenger passing through security at Dublin Airport stole another man's laptop from a scanner tray in a "nasty" theft, a court heard.
Robert Swiercz (38), a farmer, covered up the computer with his coat while the other man was distracted gathering his belongings before an early morning flight.
Judge Bryan Smyth fined him €500 at Dublin District Court.
Swiercz, a father-of-three of Tang, Ballymahon, Co Longford, pleaded guilty to stealing a Dell Latitude laptop at Dublin Airport on December 5 last year.
Garda Stephen Fahey told the court the defendant was going through security at Terminal 2 on his way to a flight at 6.20am.
He was behind the victim, who put his laptop into one of two trays before passing through the scanner.
As the man was getting his belongings from one tray, the accused put his jacket over the laptop in the other and moved it to one side.
The victim was "distracted getting his bits and pieces" and walked on.
Swiercz put the laptop under his arm and walked in the other direction.
The victim returned to security when he realised his laptop was missing, they viewed CCTV and saw what had happened.
The accused, who had yet to board his flight, was apprehended by the airport police.
Swiercz had no previous convictions. He had been in Ireland for eight years and hoped to eventually return to Poland, where he stood to inherit a farm.
"There was a certain sort of nastiness about it," Judge Smyth said.
"People don't have any say in what has to go through security at the airport so they are vulnerable when they put their belongings into these trays."
"It was an aberration," the defendant's barrister said. "He was under stress at the time."
Judge Smyth remarked that "lots of people are under stress" but they did not steal.