Unemployment difficulties turns carpenter to crime, court hears

Unemployment and financial pressure led to a man, who had never before been in trouble with the law, committing a spate of break-ins throughout Galway and selling the stolen property on to second-hand shops in exchange for cash, the Galway District Court heard this week.

A 17-month jail sentence was imposed on ex-carpenter Anthony Kenny who, after being caught “up a ladder” trying to break into a house, had made full and frank admissions to gardai to his part in a number of other burglaries and car break-ins which resulted in the theft and the subsequent selling on of more than €3,200 worth of property, most of which could not be recovered.

Kenny (31 ) with a previous address at Laurel Park, Newcastle, but who has more recently been residing in Cork, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy charged with a number of offences including theft and handling stolen property, to wit an iPod nano, gear bag, and external hard drive, valued at €400, and to causing €100 worth of criminal damage to the window of a car at Cluain Ard, Ballybrit, on December 1, 2009; stealing a Makita circular saw, valued at €200, a Metabo jigsaw, valued at €350, and a DeValt chop saw, valued at €1,150, at Tarpey’s Bar, Ardrahan, between December 13 and 14, 2009; trespassing at 8 Threadneedle Road, stealing a set of golf clubs, electric golf trolley, and golf club covers, valued at €1,000, at Maple Ridge, Rockbarton and stealing two squash rackets, a black purse, and a cheque, all to the value of €115 at Selero, Salthill, on January 30, 2010; stealing a set of keys from 89 Claremont Park, Rahoon, and causing criminal damage to the rear door mechanism of a car at 64 Claremont Park, Rahoon, and criminal damage to the bonnet of a car in the same area on April 30, 2010; and trespassing and handling stolen property, to wit a digital camera, at 1 Eglinton Road, Lower Canal Road, and trespassing at 17 Upper Canal Road on May 1, 2010.

Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that the defendant first came to the notice of gardai on May 1 last. Gardai had been called to the scene of an attempted break-in at 17 Upper Canal Road and Kenny was caught red-handed by gardai who found him “up a ladder” attempting to break into the premises. He was apprehended and found in possession of property which had been taken in another burglary at 1 Eglinton Road, Lower Canal Road. While detained at Galway Garda Station Kenny made a full admission and admitted his part in a number of other burglaries. It was discovered that Kenny had taken items which he then sold on to businesses which buy and sell second-hand goods in exchange for cash. Inspector Coppinger said that only a small amount of the property taken from these burglaries could be recovered as they had not yet been sold on again to a third party.

“He seemed to be on a crime spree at the time,” said the inspector, who added that it was a very unusual case as Kenny had no previous convictions and had not come to the attention of gardai before.

Defence solicitor Sean Acton agreed that it was unusual for a person who was never on the “garda radar” to “graduate to this level of crime”. Mr Acton said that Kenny had been a full-time carpenter in a successfull business but then lost this job and this led to the breakdown of his relationship with his partner. The court heard how Kenny had then moved to Galway and had been waiting a long time to receive social welfare payments and that the pressure of Christmas and to provide maintenance to his children had become too great. Mr Acton said that Kenny committed one crime and that this then escalated out of control and moved from cars to houses. He stressed that it had been Kenny who had told gardai about the other offences as “he knew he needed to stop this” and he wanted to “wipe the slate clean”. Kenny has now moved back to Cork to be with his family and children.

“These are all serious offences. Entering a private residence, it has an effect on people’s sense of security for the future. This can never be the answer in dealing with money difficulties. His judgement was clouded by his difficulties and if he doesn’t address his issues he could re-offend,” said Judge Mary Fahy, who then convicted Kenny and imposed a total of 17 months in prison.

Kenny was also charged with threatening and abusive behaviour at University Road, on June 18, 2009. Garda Emma Kerin gave evidence that at 3am her attention was drawn to three men who were very upset and panic stricken. They complained that Kenny, in the company of another man, had hurled abuse and threatened them with murder.

The three men said that they had been approached and asked about a party. When they said there was no party Kenny started to threaten them. Garda Kerin said that Kenny told the three men to leave their wallets on the floor or “their heads would be broken”. Judge Fahy convicted and fined him €350 payable forthwith. His co-accused, Charlie O’Riordan (27 ) of 18 Grange Road, Ballina, Tipperary, failed to appear in court and a bench warrant was issued.

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