herald

Saturday 29 April 2017

Man with 192 convictions stole from hotel reception

Seamus Rooney
Seamus Rooney

A serial thief snatched an envelope full of Dublin Bus tickets and cash from an unattended hotel reception desk in a "classic case of opportunistic crime".

Seamus Rooney (54), who has 192 prior convictions, stole the tickets and cash worth €348 after walking into the hotel lobby.

Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned the case for payment of compensation for the stolen €120 cash after hearing the bus tickets had been recovered.

He said the accused was facing jail if the money was not paid.

Rooney, a grandfather with an address at St Mary's Mansions, Railway Street, in the north inner city, pleaded guilty to theft.

Dublin District Court heard the incident happened at the Academy Hotel, Findlater Place, Cathal Brugha Street, on October 3, 2016.

Gda Aisling Dillon gave evidence that Rooney entered the hotel and stole an envelope that had been left on the reception desk containing €120 in cash and 12 Dublin Bus tickets worth €19 each.

Rooney was later identified on CCTV footage from the hotel and the bus tickets were on him when he was located and arrested.

He had a total of 192 previous convictions, including many for theft and burglary.

Methadone

"This is a classic case of opportunistic crime," defence solicitor Declan Fahy said.

Rooney had a long history of drug addiction and had been on methadone for many years.

However, he was now off all drugs including methadone for the first time in his adult life.

He could pay compensation if given time, Mr Fahy said.

He accepted that the defendant had an "appalling record", but Rooney's last serious conviction was imposed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2013 for robbery and the hotel theft had been a "lapse".

He was engaging with a drugs treatment project and a report presented to the court was "very positive".

However, Judge Smyth said the accused had been given a week to pay compensation on an earlier date and he had not done so.

Rooney had committed the offence last year and had "said he would have" the money.

Mr Fahy said the accused was not working, was in receipt of social welfare and would need more time to get the €120.

The judge adjourned the case to a date later this month, remanding Rooney on continuing bail.

"Given his history, if the money is not paid, he's looking at a sentence," Judge Smyth added.

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