A CAR trader and his friend who stole the grille from an Audi parked in a driveway ended up being chased across Dundrum by the owner when they were spotted.
Robert O'Reilly drove away with the car owner in hot pursuit, after his accomplice Anthony Toomey removed the grille.
Judge Aeneas McCarthy gave both men four-month suspended sentences after they admitted their part in the incident.
Toomey (46), of Pearse House, Pearse Street, and O'Reilly, of Churchtown Road Upper, Dublin 14, both pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to theft charges.
O'Reilly (41) also admitted a charge of dangerous driving and was fined €500 and put off the road for two years.
Garda David Connolly told Dublin District Court the accused were driving past a house at Woodley Park, Dundrum, when they saw an Audi A4. Toomey got out, crouched down in front of it and pulled two lower grilles off the front bumper.
He then got into the waiting car and O'Reilly drove off. The owner of the Audi saw what happened and gave chase in his car for several minutes.
He called the gardai and while retracing his route, he saw the two culprits by chance and they were arrested.
The total cost of replacing the grilles was €547. Garda Austin Larkin said O'Reilly did not get out of his car during the theft but when the Audi owner tried to stop them, he drove off in a dangerous manner.
He drove under the Luas bridge at Taney Road at speed and broke a red light at a junction on the way to Churchtown.
Judge McCarthy refused to reduce the charge to careless driving.
O'Reilly accepted responsibility for his driving but had been "under a bit of pressure" at the time.
Judge McCarthy said he would not have been chased if he had not stolen the grille.
Toomey's barrister put it to Garda Connolly that it had been an "opportunistic, spur of the moment" theft.
"There was certainly no great thought put into it", he replied.
Toomey was an out-of-work milkman and labourer while O'Reilly worked with his brother at Churchtown Motors.
He was involved in buying and selling cars and realised he was facing a driving ban.
The two men had grown up across the road from each other. Both had previous convictions but none for theft.