Visitors rob quarry of diesel in ‘sophisticated’ burglary

Three visitors to Ireland will now have an extended stay courtesy of the State after they received jail sentences ranging from nine to 17 months at Galway District Court for their part in a “sophisticated” burglary at a Moycullen quarry.

Marijus Ivanauskas (29 ), Igoris Vilkel (33 ), and Linus Tverijonas (31 ), all Lithuanian nationals with no fixed abode in this jurisdiction, were brought before Judge Mary Fahy yesterday and pleaded guilty to the charges of entering a building as a trespasser and stealing nine drums of diesel at Welby’s Quarry, Moycullen, on June 27, 2009. They also pleaded guilty to possession of a crowbar, jimmy bar, screwdriver, and a two-way radio intended for use in a burglary.

An additional charge of possession of a flick-knife was brought against Vilkel while Ivanauskas had a bench warrant in existence for a charge of theft of a bottle of vodka at Dunnes Stores, Terryland Shopping Centre, on October 17, 2004.

Garda Paul Duffy told the court that on June 27, 2009, at 2am the three defendants had been arrested for theft. He said that two of the men had entered a shed on the premises and stole nine drums of diesal, valued at €600, and left them outside the gate where they were to be transferred to the waiting van.

The van’s details had been circulated to gardai and it was spotted at Tullykyne, Moycullen, with one of the men sitting inside and in possession of a two-way radio. Garda Duffy said that the van was searched and a crowbar, screwdriver, and other articles were found. While gardai were dealing with the van two other men, one also holding a radio, were seen running from the direction of the quarry. During a follow up search Vilkel was found to be in possession of a flick-knife. Garda Duffy later said that while two of the defendants had been very co-operative Vilkel had not.

“This was a pretty sophisticated operation,” said Judge Fahy.

Under questioning by defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn Garda Duffy said that one of the men had said they intended to use the drums for the van to travel around the country. The court had heard on a previous sitting that all three defendants had been living in the van having come over to Ireland on a ferry as visitors on June 22. Mr MacLynn then said that Vilkel had the flick knife for fishing purposes and that other fishing appartus had been found in the van.

“How many visitors steal drums and have crowbars on them? I hope not too many,” said Judge Fahy who went on to say that many fishermen in Galway have had engines taken from their boats.

“That’s why the van’s details were being circulated,” said Garda Duffy.

“But they’re not charged with that. The excuse of having a flick knife for fishing is not acceptable. He had no more a notion of fishing than I have... This wasn’t a spur of the moment trip to view the beautiful scenery. They were armed and they had walkie talkies. They had a serious burglary on their minds when they came here, there’s no doubt about that,” she said.

Ivanauskas was then convicted and sentenced to a total of 11 months in jail and Tverijonas to nine months in jail. Finally Vilkel, who had been un-cooperative with gardai and who had been found with the knife and in charge of the van, was sentenced to a total of 17 months and disqualified from driving for two years.

Judge Fahy also ordered the destruction of the knife and for the drums of diesel to be returned to the owner. Leave to appeal was granted with strict bail conditions. These include that the defendants provide a residential address in the state to gardai, that they surrender their passports, do not apply for travel documents, and that they sign on at the nearest Garda station three times a week.

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