A Romanian who came to Ireland earlier this year in search of work was convicted of five counts of theft and of handling stolen property.
Vastile Pintischi, 17 North Circular Road, Flat 10, Dublin pleaded guilty and was convicted of the offences at Kilkenny Circuit Court.
Garda Francis Brennan told the court that on dates in March and April of this year the defendant and a co-accused travelled to a number of counties to carry out the crimes.
“The co-accused entered a number of premises and used a €200 note to purchase a small number of low cost items and in doing so received a large amount of change.”
Garda Brennan told the court that on March 30 the defendant was in possession of a car in Waterford and drove the co-accused to a store where the co-accused tendered a €200 note and a theft of €100 took place. The vehicle was later seized in Waterford and the defendant admitted that he was driving it on this occasion. CCTV also showed the vehicle in the forecourt of the premises in question.
On the same date at the defendant was seen on CCTV driving a vehicle and stopping at the Mace shop in Freshford. A co-accused entered the store and took a number of items in her bag and attempted the same scam. The garda told the court that in this incident management refused to take the €200 note. The co-accused left the store without paying for the goods in her bag.
Garda Brennan also gave evidence relating to an incident at a pharmacy in Kilkenny City on March 30.
“On this occasion the defendant also drove the co-accused who entered the pharmacy and tried to tender the €200 note. A member of staff went to a back room to ask the manager and the co-accused went behind the counter and stole a phone, valued at €350, which was not recovered.
Evidence was also heard of an incident at the Tipperary Town Plaza on April 4 where the co-accused entered the store, tendered a €200 note and theft of €100 took place.
On the same date the defendant also drove the co-accused to the EveryDay shop in Paulstown and the co-accused entered the shop and stole €70.
Garda Brennan also told the court that on April 2 the vehicle was stopped and searched and a mobile phone was found concealed and wrapped in tin foil.
The defendant was arrested and was co-operative. During interview he told gardaí that he only been in the country since March. He knew his co-accused, who was from Romania and his role was to drive the co-accused and he received payment.
The court heard that the crimes did not involve ‘any violence or coercion’ and that the defendant did not enter any of the premises but drove the car.
The defendant has been in custody since April 3. He came to Ireland in search of work in March.
“He couldn’t have come at a worse time given the circumstances that pertain. He came in search of work and it was not available to him and he succumbed to temptation,” his counsel said.
The court heard that the defendant is undertaking to return to Romania as soon as is practicable.
Judge Cormac Quinn described said it was ‘a pre-planned spree’ and sentenced the defendant to seven months backdated to sentence to April 4.
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