A car which was suspiciously abandoned on a road near a house which had been broken into led to the appearance before Ballina District Court of a Dublin man.
Inspector Joe Doherty outlined that on November 10 2010, gardaí on patrol on the Crossmolina Road observed a black Opel Astra car parked there for some time. The registration plates were for a transit van and it transpired that the car had been stolen from Dublin.
On November 11 gardaí received a report that a home had been broken into in the Gurteens area. Entry was gained through the back window and the house was ransacked, but nothing was taken. The occupant of the house was on holiday at the time of the incident.
An investigation which followed showed that on November 8 Julian O’Connor, 36 St Brigid’s Road, Artane, Dublin 5, was observed on CCTV driving the stolen car through the toll-bridge in the direction of Mayo.
The defendant admitted his involvement, however Inspector Doherty told the court that it was his belief that the defendant did not act alone, and may have been helped by local people. Gardaí are still carrying out inquiries into the incident.
O’Connor has 25 previous convictions. The court heard that the father of five heard about this “job coming up” after he had got into severe financial difficulty. The defendant claimed he was not the organiser of it, and also denied ransacking the house.
Judge Mary Devins adjourned the case to January 24 for a community service assessment report. If the defendant is found suitable he would be sentenced to 120 hours community service in lieu of three months in prison.