herald

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Grandad's €3,000 tobacco theft forced shop to close down

John O’Keeffe must pay compensation in full to avoid jail
John O’Keeffe must pay compensation in full to avoid jail

A Grandfather's theft of more than €3,000 worth of cigarettes from a shop caused it to go out of business, a court heard.

John O'Keeffe (56) maintained he was under pressure to financially support his four grandchildren when he took the goods just after they had been delivered.

O'Keeffe pleaded guilty to stealing the property at Daybreak, Harmonstown, on Nov- ember 18, 2015.

He paid €1,000 in compensation, but Judge Bryan Smyth said he would have to come up with the full amount to avoid jail and adjourned the case.

Gda Desmond McNally told Dublin District Court that the accused entered the shop and took a box of tobacco products while they were still on a trolley after a delivery had taken place.

O'Keeffe, from Portland Place, Dublin 1, was identified from CCTV footage and later arrested.

The goods, valued at €3,353, were never recovered.

The court heard that O'Keeffe had 34 previous convictions, going back to the 1980s.

Opportunity

He was given a suspended sentence last year for his most recent conviction.

Defence solicitor Noelle Kenny told the court that O'Keeffe had been under significant financial pressure when he carried out the theft.

"He saw this opportunity and took advantage of it," she said of the theft.

O'Keeffe was in receipt of social welfare and was supporting his wife, their daughter and four grandchildren.

Ms Kenny explained that O'Keeffe's daughter had health issues and he felt financially responsible for her children.

It would take him some time to come up with the compensation and he was not sure if he would be able to pay the full amount, but he would "endeavour to do so", Ms Kenny said.

O'Keeffe had €1,000 in court and this was handed over to the victim, Jeevan Murthygowda, who said he had been unable to pay wholesalers and closed last March.

Judge Smyth said O'Keeffe would have to pay compensation in full and adjourned the case, remanding the defendant on continuing bail.

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