Fake water worker with 'free rein' to steal is sent to jail
An elderly thief who posed as an Irish Water worker so he could carry out a series of burglaries at businesses across Dublin city centre has been jailed for 16 months.
George Courtier (68) used the same method in each theft, pretending he was there to check the plumbing to get "free rein" of the premises.
He targeted cafes, hotels, shops and a health clinic before he was caught.
Dublin District Court heard Courtier was homeless and had problems with drugs after being introduced to them in his 60s.
Judge Bryan Smyth jailed him for almost a year-and-a-half after he pleaded guilty to a string of burglary charges.
Gda Des Rogers told the court of one incident at the Castle Hotel, on Gardiner Row, on January 1 last year.
Courtier told staff he was from Irish Water and gained entry to an area where he stole an iPod and Samsung phone. The value was €381.
In all the burglaries, he was identified on CCTV footage and later arrested and charged.
Courtier is originally from Co Limerick and had a difficult childhood, his solicitor Aine Flynn said. He had been homeless for some time and came to drug addiction very late in life, having been introduced to heroin in his 60s.
Ms Flynn added that Courtier has two grown-up sons and is now entitled to a pension but is not in receipt of it yet.
"The modus operandi is generally that he goes into a premises, passes himself off as being from the water authority and gains access to a staff area and steals property and cash," she said. "There is never any confrontation."
The judge imposed a series of consecutive sentences totalling 16 months. He said he was taking account of time Courtier had already spent in custody.