Security at the city’s hospitals and other premises was thrown into question yesterday after Galway District Court heard how a man had simply wandered into areas such as the maternity ward, private offices, and locker rooms over a period of six weeks and rifled through bags.
The 31-year-old Polish national who stole property valued at €3,281 from premises such as UHG, Merlin Park, NUIG, and Boston Scientific, was sentenced to a total of 16 months after he pleaded guilty to 28 counts of theft.
Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that between January 6, 2009, and February 20, 2009, Dominik Moskwa of no fixed abode had entered the main areas and locker rooms of hospitals, NUIG, and Boston Scientific, and stole wallets and bags. Property valued at €600 was recovered.
The inspector said that the defendant would “wander” into the office areas and locker rooms of UHG and Merlin Park, search through bags, and take the property. Moskwa had been stopped by security after being found in the maternity ward of UHG. Inspector Coppinger added that it wasn’t the first time he had been found there.
“It’s frightening that somone can just wander into what is a very sensitive area,” said Judge Mary Fahy.
The court also heard that the defendant had been very familiar with the layout of Boston Scientific as one of his friends had worked there. The defendant had no previous convictions.
Defence solicitor Brian Gilmartin said that his client, who has been in the country for only nine months, had been fully co-operative when he was apprehended.
Inspector Coppinger then explained that the money, which had not been recovered, had been used to put a deposit down on the room he had been staying in and he also sent some back home to his mother. He added that a vast majority of the injured parties were employees of the hospital.
“This is an infringement of their privacy... Security will have to be tightened up in the hospital and everywhere else,” said Judge Fahy, who added that it was insulting that some of the money had been sent to the defendant’s mother as it had been earned by people in this country.
Moskwa was then convicted and sentenced to a total of 16 months in jail backdated to February 19. Leave to appeal was also granted with the condition that he supply a permanant residential address to the State.