A raider who told gardai he had targetted a local shop two days in a row as he had been threatened with being shot over a drug debt, was given suspended sentences of two and a half years at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.
The court heard that Michael Smith (29) with an address at an apartment at Roden Place, Dundalk had attempted to rob XL Stop n Shop on Jocelyn Street, Dundalk on the 25th of March last year using a potato peeler and a syringe and that he succeeded in stealing the touch screen of a cash register the following day.
Det. Garda Joe Ryan told the court last Thursday that the shopkeeper was serving customers on the first occasion, when the accused ran in the door, with his hoodie up covering his face.
He was carrying a potato peeler and was wearing gloves. He met resistance and produced a syringe from his left trouser pocket - but the shopkeeper still did not open the cash register.
The accused tried to pull he top off the till but Det. Gda Ryan said it was held in place with wires and Michael Smith dropped it and ran off.
The next day he returned with a scarf covering his face and armed with a stick of wood as a weapon.
On that occasion, the touch screen of the till “was ripped out and stolen”.
After his arrest, the accused said he was sorry and told gardai he owed people money and had been threatened with being shot dead.
The garda said Michael Smith - who is now drug free, was highly strung out at the time and the crimes were ‘highly uncharacteristic”. The Defence barrister said they had coincided with his client starting to take heroin intravenously, having previously smoked it.
The court heard the accused has not come to garda attention since the two incidents, had self-referred himself to a local addiction centre and now suffers from headaches and dizziness following an assault in July this year.
Judge Michael O’Shea said it was mindboggling and beggars belief that someone would return to the same shop just hours after trying to rob it the first time.
He imposed concurrent sentences of two and a half years but suspended them on the defendant entering a bond to be of good behaviour for three years.
The Judge added that it was important the the defendant continues with his rehabilitation and asked him to attend all probation appointments, inform the Probation Service of any change of address and continue to engage with the drug treatment service and another programme outlined in the probation report.