Sly handbag thief jailed for five months

A Dublin man who slyly wormed his way into the company of a groups of celebrating women and then stole their handbags and making off with more than €500 cash has been given a five month sentence.

Thirty-year-old Mark O’Brien with an address at 1787 Oliver Bonds Flat, Inchicore, Kilmainham, Dublin, appeared at Galway District Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to stealing a purse and its contents of €220 cash, a handbag and its contents of €200 cash, and stealing cash of €150 at Paddy’s Bar, Prospect Hill, on July 2, 2006.

Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that a group of women were in the pub and were up dancing quite a lot. The defendant approached the group and eventually got into their company and while the dancing women were distracted he stole their handbags. The inspector said that most of the property, such as the handbags and personal items, were recovered but not the cash.

The court then heard that O’Brien has 51 previous convictions mostly for road traffic offence, a number of thefts, and an assault.

Defence solictor John Geraghty said that his client apologised for the “nuisance” caused to the women. He added that O’Brien was in custody since January on more serious separate charges.

Judge Fahy imposed a five-month sentence for one count of theft and a five-month concurrent sentence for a second count. For the third count of theft a five-month consecutive sentence was imposed but was suspended for two years on condition that he enter into a bond of €500 to be of good behaviour and stay away from Galway city and county during that period.

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