Man who stole flowers on St Valentine’s Day jailed for Post office fraud

A Galway man who tried to make a €200 profit at a post office by handing in a doctored social welfare slip, and who stole a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s Day, was sentenced to a total of five months this week.

Damien McElroy (30 ) with an address at 30 John Coogan Park, Newcastle, was brought in custody before Galway District Court last Monday where he pleaded guilty to a number of offences including theft, deception, public order, and failing to appear in court.

Inspector Michael Coppinger told the court that on May 20, 2008, the defendant entered An Post in Eglinton Street where he handed in a slip from the Department of Social and Family Affairs. The slip would normally allow a person to withdraw €187.80 but the defendant had altered the slip to read €387.80, giving him a gain of €200. When questioned by gardai McElroy admitted the offence and said that he had been under financial pressure at the time.

On February 14, 2009, at 12.35pm the defendant entered Dunnes Stores in Terryland, Headford Road, and took floweres without paying but was apprehended by security. McElroy was again in trouble on August 6, 2009, when gardai were called to Supermac’s in Eyre Square at 2.40am to deal with an incident. The defendant, who was quite intoxicated, got involved and became abusive to garda.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client suffered from long-term depression and is now taking his medication.

Judge Mary Fahy was then told that the defendant has 19 previous convictions. The court heard that in November 2008 the defendant had received a seven month sentence suspended for 12 months for the assault of his partner. “He is not getting another suspended sentence,” said Judge Fahy, who convicted and sentenced the defendant to a total of five months in jail and fined him €200 payable forthwith.

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