Gardai intercept hackney with purse thief on board, court hears

A five month prison sentence was imposed on a man who, while seeking treatment at A&E, snatched a purse belonging to a staff member and made his getaway in a hackney cab which was intercepted by gardai.

Colm Maughan (35 ) with an address at Flat 2, 3 St Anthony’s Road, Dublin 8, appeared at Galway District Court last Monday where he pleaded guilty to stealing cash, to the value of €360, at the A&E department of UHG on December 5, 2009.

Inspector Michael Coppinger told the court that Maughan had presented at the casualty department of UHG seeking treatment and while a member of staff was taking his name and address he observed a purse lying there. Maughan then put his hand in behind the desk and took it. Security was alerted but Maughan managed to get into a hackney cab. However, the inspector added that gardai in Ballinasloe intercepted the vehicle.

“The property was recovered because of the good detective work of gardai,” noted Judge Mary Fahy.

The court then heard that Maughan has previous convictions for road traffic offences, possession of an article, and handling stolen property.

“It beggars belief. He was looking for treatment, he steals a purse with over €300 in it belonging to a member of staff. We all know the pressure the staff is under. He suddenly felt very well, well enough to get into a hackney. I have to impose a sentence,” said Judge Fahy who convicted Maughan and sentenced him to five months in jail.



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