Dundalk Circuit Court has heard how a 20 year old man with no previous convictions, was involved in stealing two cars from outside the owners’ homes after the keys were left in both vehicle.
The court was told that he was identified in one of the vehicles on CCTV, as it drove through the Dublin Port tunnel.
The first car that was taken, a Mercedes, had been parked in a gated residential area of Blackrock on February 20th last year, and the owner’s son had finished packing it around 11pm, ahead of his return to boarding school the next day.
Its theft was reported around 7am, the court heard around 6am its electronic tag had “pinged” at the North link toll plaza and had also used the Dublin Port tunnel
Craig Keenan with an address at Belfry Avenue, Dundalk was identified in it wearing an orange t-shirt from CCTV footage.
A warrant to search his home was obtained and he was arrested on suspicion of the unauthorised taking.
When shown CCTV from a pub in Blackrock he said he had taken a car that had the keys inside.
In a second interview he admitted the theft of a second car from an address in Kingswood, Dundalk which was reported stolen on February 23rd last year, after the owner noticed it was missing from the drive as he was leaving to cycle to work.
Craig Keenan, who had no previous convictions, told gardai “It was silly of them to leave the keys in the car”.
The defence barrister argued his client had helped gardai to locate the Mercedes and said that both of the cars had been recovered.
He stressed Mr. Keenan, who surrendered his bail in July, wasn’t acting alone and the investigating garda said that he comes across as easily led. The court heard the €3,000 worth of clothing and sports gear that was in the Mercedes was never recovered.
The Mercedes owner in a victim impact statement said every single stitch of clothing her son owned had been packed into the car, and he couldn’t return to school the next day as he didn’t have a change of clothing.
Judge Patrick Quinn questioned the defendant’s remorse, comparing how he appeared to him on the video-link, to the visible anguish of his parents who were in the courtroom and questioned the insight he had into the difficulties he’s causing them, saying "vulnerability only gets you so far".
The defendant told him he planned to get a job and go back to education, but admitted he had not signed up to any courses while in custody.
He said he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life “at this - living in prison”.
Judge Quinn imposed concurrent 18-month sentences with the final six months suspended and disqualified him from driving for five years.
As part of the suspended sentence the defendant must be of good behaviour and not come to Garda attention for 18 months and engage with the Probation Service with a view to getting a job.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.