Man stole money from Ballina family with whom he was staying

A man who stole more than €1,500 from a safe in a house in which he was temporarily residing was before Ballina District Court this week where the case had been adjourned to.

At a previous court sitting it was outlined that on four separate dates in 2009, Brendan O’Brien, Bridge House, Dyke Road, Galway, removed a total of €1,510 from a safe located in the family home of a couple from Ballina. The couple had allowed O’Brien to stay with them as O’Brien was a friend of their son’s. The defendant moved in during late June and left in late August.

On July 23 2009, €500 was noticed missing from a coded safe which was located in a bedroom in the house; €450 was missing on August 8, €300 on August 9, and €260 on August 27.

O’Brien was confronted about the thefts, however he denied his involvement. In September, gardaí interviewed the defendant who admitted that he took the money. O’Brien told the gardaí that he could open the safe by looking at the keypad sideways and seeing which numbers were faded from wear and tear.

The defendant, who is originally from Dublin, has no previous convictions. He told the court that he would often stay at the house as he had fallen out with his parents. At the time of the incidents O’Brien was on the wrong medication for his schizophrenia, however he told the court that it was not the medication that had made him do it.

When asked by Judge Mary Devins what he did with the stolen money he said: “I blew it being silly”... “going out and buying clothes”.

Judge Devins remanded him on continuing bail to for a probation report and for the full amount of compensation to be paid. A letter of apology must also be furnished to the injured parties.

At this week’s court sitting it was heard that the defendant has only paid €990 compensation, and had a further €70 with him in court.

Solicitor for O’Brien, Peter Loftus said that his client, who is unemployed and who now resides in Longford with a friend, has secured a loan from a small loan company to pay the balance, and the funds will be available next week.

Judge Devins said that he has been “given umpteen chances” to pay the compensation. The judge said: “I don’t think you want to pay the money” for a “particularly mean act”.

The judge remanded him on continuing bail to Ballyhaunis District Court on Tuesday for the full payment of the compensation and documentary evidence of his means.

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