Jail time for pharmacy ram-raiders

Less than 36 hours after they ram-raided a Mullingar pharmacy, three men found themselves on the way to prison, convicted of burglary.

The three Lithuanians were in a Ford Mondeo which reversed into the Mullingar Pharmacy at Blackhall in the early hours of Thursday morning (September 17 ).

Yet, before lunch on Friday September 18 they were convicted before Longford District Court and sentenced to 11 months imprisonment at Castlerea.

Imposing the sentences, Judge John Neilan said the raid was “well-planned, well-executed, and well-prepared”.

Sgt Frank Egan described how Garda James Brogan in the new communications room at Mullingar Garda Station was watching CCTV footage at 2.15am on Thursday morning when he observed the car travelling the wrong way up a one-way street.

He alerted mobile gardaí and followed the car on camera as it pulled up on the footpath outside the pharmacy, then turned to reverse through the glass frontage.

The occupants wore balaclavas and carried large bags which hung on rope around their necks. They were described as being like aprons which they intended to sweep armfuls of goods into.

Karolis Skrickis (21 ) of 1A The Lawns, The Highlands, Drogheda was restrained and arrested immediately by Detective Brendan Hogan while Garda Michael Daniels chased Marius Baciulis (19 ) of 56 Martello Village, Drogheda on foot.

Mr Baciulis escaped after what was described as a “violent struggle” and was found shortly afterwards by Sgt Egan in a car park near the courthouse, hiding under a tarpaulin.

Two other men escaped, but Saulius Puzinkevicius (24 ) of 85 Roseville, Drogheda was arrested by Garda Liam O’Conghaile in the Marlinstown area of Mullingar at 10.15am following a search involving gardaí from Mullingar, Delvin, and the Regional Response Unit.

The fourth man, who has not been located is understood to be the owner of the car.

No property was taken during the raid, but it was indicated that they had intended stealing cosmetics because they are easy to sell on for cash.

The three men, who have been in the country for at least three years and are currently unemployed, all appeared in court wearing black or navy Lonsdale tracksuits. Each was granted legal aid.

Mr Louis Kiernan said his clients had offered pleas at the earliest possible opportunity and saved the Gardaí what could have been a significant investigation.

Mr Baciulis, the driver of the vehicle was initially given an 11 month consecutive sentence for causing around €1,500 damage to the pharmacy and but this was later made concurrent.

Charges of dangerous driving, threatening behaviour and having no insurance were withdrawn, but he received two disqualifications, each banning him from driving in Ireland or Europe for seven years.

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