A man who broke into a Mullingar hardware shop and stole the contents of a safe has been told he was fortunate that he was caught in the act.
Christopher Salinger (32 ) entered Shaws Hardware on Pearse Street on April 15 2009 and took the safe keys from the cash office.
He took cash, envelopes, loose change and cheques valued at around €4,200 in total and left the building.
However, he was followed by a number of men who contacted gardaí and were able to identify him when they arrived.
While being questioned, Salinger handed over a bag of loose change valued at €100 and lunged at Garda Hogan. When the garda grabbed his arm, he felt something up his sleeve which turned out to be a brown bag containing €1,100.
The other items and keys were handed over at the Garda station but Salinger, who has an address at 67 Druid Court, Poppintree, Ballymun did not admit to the offence at the time.
The court heard he has serious health issues, including hepatitis C, chronic diabetes, a methadone difficulty, and was on temporary release from prison to deal with his health problems when medical staff at the Mater said prison was not suitable for him.
He has 36 previous convictions, with the first going back to the Children’s Court in 1993.
Mr Robert Marren said his client’s offence had been opportunistic and Judge Neilan advised him that he had been fortunate to be caught in the act because everything was returned.
He imposed an 11 month sentence but adjourned it to October 21, advising Mr Salinger that if he commits no further criminal offences in the meantime, he will suspend the jail term.
“If you commit any further criminal act between now and October 21, then there’s nothing I can do except move on,” he warned.