Addict goes on break-in spree of houses

Sentencing in the case of a drug addict with 52 previous convictions who committed a series of burglaries throughout the city, gaining entry to private houses all of which had been occupied at the time, was adjourned this week to allow time for the preparation of reports.

Jonathan Harlowe (28 ) with addresses given as 29 Seaman Drive, Riverside, and YMCA, Aungier Street, Dublin 8, appeared at Galway District Court on Monday where he pleaded to a number of charges brought against him.

Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that on February 5, 2011, the defendant entered a house in Taylor’s Hill sometime between 3am and 9am, gaining entry through the front door. In the hallway, Harlowe rifled through a number of belongings, finally making off with a handbag, rucksack, and coats. Cash totalling €200 which had been contained in a purse inside the handbag was not recovered and Inspector Coppinger added that the break-in had taken place while the residents had been asleep upstairs.

Two weeks later, on February 20, at 4.30am the defendant targeted a house at The Bailey, Circular Road, entering through an unlocked back door. He then made his way into a bedroom where he took a laptop. The defendant ran off when he was disturbed by a female resident who immediately contacted gardai and he was apprehended a short distance away. The laptop was recovered.

The break-in spree continued with Harlowe entering two houses in the Churchfields area of Salthill on the same night between 5am and 8am. On March 13, 2011, the defendant entered the first house through an unlocked patio door and stole car keys, however the vehicle was not taken. In the second house, Harlowe removed the glass from a window to gain entry and proceeded to take a set of car keys as well as a Dell laptop. A jeep was taken from outside the premises but was later found abandoned in the Riverside area of the city. Inspector Coppinger added that both houses had been occupied at the time of the break-ins.

The court also heard that Harlowe has amassed 52 previous convictions for offences which include possession of drugs, obstruction, jail sentence for theft, assault causing harm, forgery, tresspassing, and unauthorised taking of an mpv.

Defence solicitor Sean Acton said that his client realises the seriousness of these offences and that when arrested he had made a full and frank admission to a number of the break-ins. He added that Harlowe has battled with a heroin addiction for a number of years and had been doing well after completing a residential treatment course in August 2009, which was followed by taking up residence in a half-way house in Dublin where he stayed until February 2011. Mr Acton added that his client had also managed to enrol in a pre-course in DIT last September but unfortunately when Christmas came Harlowe started to drink again, which then led him to taking drugs. However, Mr Acton said that Harlowe, who is now drug free again, has since managed to make contact with Coolmine Treatment Centre who are willing to take him back onto a residential treatment course, given that he had done so well previously. He added that Harlowe is due to start that course this week.

“He is anxious to get back on the road to recovery... part of his previous treatment course was to meet victims of crime, he understands, and is genuinely sorry,” said Mr Action who then asked Judge Elizabeth MacGrath to consider adjourning the matter to await a probation report and one from Coolmine.

Judge MacGrath granted the request and remanded Harlowe on continuing bail and adjourned the matter to July 25 next with conditions as set by the High Court.

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