A foolish drunken prank led to a student messing around with the buttons of a Supermacs cash register, reaching over the counter, and putting his hands in the till to steal €240 cash, the Galway District Court heard this week.
The 20-year-old defendant had been out socialising for a friend’s 21st birthday when the fun took a nasty turn and ended with his being charged with theft at Supermac’s, Eyre Square, on October 15, 2010. At a court sitting on Monday Patrick O’Regan with an address at 20 Murrough Avenue, Renmore, pleaded guilty to the charge and was subsequently remanded on continuing bail to February 7 next year.
Inspector Brendan Carroll told the court that at 3am the defendant had ordered food but then he reached over the counter and stole €240 from an open cash register. O’Regan was stopped by security staff and admitted the offence immediately, however only €180 was recovered. Inspector Carroll then added that O’Regan has no previous convictions.
Defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd said that her client had been out for a friend’s 21st birthday and had been drinking since 6pm. She explained that O’Regan and his friends had been drinking at a house before socialising at a nightclub in the city and that at Supermac’s they had started “messing around” at the cash register which was unmanned. The court heard that the drunken group had been pretending to order and pressing buttons when the till suddenly opened. O’Regan then saw the money and took it, according to Ms O’Dowd who stressed that he made no attempt to run away from the premises.
“He wasn’t playing a dare?” asked a baffled Judge Mary Fahy.
“I asked him that because it was so hare-brained,” replied Ms O’Dowd.
“There’s a big difference between pressing buttons, messing around, and actually taking money,” said Judge Fahy.
O’Regan explained that he thought it was “funny at the time”. When further questioned by Judge Fahy the defendant said he was studying hotel management at GMIT but he often went home to Limerick at weekends, and that he had not told his parents about the incident as they would “freak out”.
Ms O’Dowd then explained that her client’s main ambition is to some day join the gardai to follow in the footsteps of members of his family who are in the force. “He regrets this so much,” she said.
In response Judge Fahy pointed out hotel management and restaurants go “hand-in-hand” and that it was a responsible job where a person is often left in charge of takings. She then asked where the remaining €60 had disappeared to.
O’Regan told her that the money had been in his pocket and that he did not usually drink that much. He explained that he had been drinking Bavaria beer and vodka.
“So you go to the off-licence and get a big crate and by the time you go out you are half-killarneyed already,” replied an unimpressed Judge Fahy who added that she wanted O’Regan to think about his actions and to inform his parents. She also requested a letter from the course director at GMIT to confirm that O’Regan is attending the course. The case was then adjourned to allow time for the preparation of a Garda report and a report from the college.
“I need to see that it was a once off foolish prank,” said Judge Fahy.