A Mayo father of two who tried to rob four premises in the one day, by handing staff a note telling them it was a raid, has received a four year sentence with the final 12 months suspended.
Arthur Boland (36 ) of Lough Mask Road, Ballinrobe, also raided a post office in Dundalk, Co Louth, five days earlier by using a similar note. He later told gardai? he travelled from Dublin that day for the purpose of robbing somewhere.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of attempted robbery in two post offices in the Dublin 2 area on March 1, 2014 and making a threat to kill or cause serious harm at Pearse Street Garda Station the following day.
He came forward on signed pleas of guilty from the District Court to an attempted robbery at the GPO on O’Connell Street on the afternoon of March 1, to a robbery minutes later at Ladbrooks on Marlborough Street, and to robbery at a post office in Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk, on February 25, 2014.
Boland, a chronic alcoholic, spent time working in the circus in the UK. He also worked in the contruction industry.
He has been doing well since his remand in prison, studying English, math, a parenting course and acting as a counsellor to other prisoners. He also works in the kitchen at Castlerea Prison and was part of the team that cooked for President Michael D. Higgins when he visisted there.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring backdated the sentence to when Boland entered custody in March this year.
Garda Shane Moriarty said Boland handed in a note to a cashier in the Dundalk Post Office demanding all the notes from the till. The note read: “Take notice, this is a robbery. I advise you to stay calm or else I will shoot you. Don’t think I won’t. Don’t speak or I will kill you, I have done it before.”
Detective Garda Kevin Craig told Eilis Brennan BL, prosecuting, that a similar type note was handed into other premises. He said when Boland handed one such note to a cashier in the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, the woman simply dismissed it, “rolled up the note and threw it back at him”.
Det Garda Craig agreed with counsel that Boland “stood and stared at the woman in a daze for about 40 seconds” before he ran off with nothing.
He got a total of €4,110 from the post office in Dundalk and €35 from the raid on Ladbrooks. He was arrested after gardai? successfully identified him from various pieces of footage from CCTV cameras.
Boland has 94 previous convictions which were mostly for theft and burglaries, but included charges of deception and use of a false instrument.
Mr Neville told Judge Ring that his client began drinking at eight years of age and suffered domestic violence from his father.
He was an established drinker by the time his mother died when he was 11 years of age.
He started taking drugs when he was 21 years old and could not keep up work, which led him into criminal offending, Mr Neville told the court.
Boland has tried to rehabilitate but has failed, and he had just relapsed again earlier this year when he committed these crimes.
Mr Neville said his client expresses “deep deep remorse” for his behaviour by which he is “utterly shocked”.