Pair with bolt cutters 'trying to find a fox'
TWO Spanish students caught down a dark alley with bolt cutters and pliers next to parked cars told gardai they were out "looking for foxes".
Guilliermo Ramos (26) and Javier Perez (26) persisted with their story after they were arrested on suspicion of having the tools for use in a theft.
Judge Patricia McNamara convicted them, fined them €500 each and bound them to the peace for nine months.
The accused, both with addresses at Dawson Street, Dublin 2, had both pleaded not guilty to possession of implements for use in the course of a theft.
They insisted they had got the bolt cutters to open Ramos' bike lock after he lost his key.
Dublin District Court heard gardai were on duty at Oxmanstown Lane, off Blackhall Place at 1.15am on May 5 last.
They noticed the two accused down a "dead end" residential laneway lined with parked cars.
The pair aroused the suspicion of the officers who went and spoke to them. Mr Ramos had "good English and was well able to converse".
Asked to explain their presence there, Mr Ramos told the garda "both he and his friend were looking for foxes".
"I asked why he was looking for foxes and he kept repeating it," the garda said.
He noticed that Mr Perez was holding the bottom of his jumper with both hands and asked him to take them away. He did so, revealing large bolt cutters up his jumper.
Mr Ramos had an open backpack and when the contents were checked, there was a pliers inside.
Cautioned and asked again what he was doing, Ramos "reiterated that he was looking for foxes".
"What he intended to say was that he saw a fox and that was why he was in the laneway," defence solicitor Brian Doherty said.
"Not that he was on some fox-hunting expedition."
Ramos told the court he had locked his bike up nearby but lost his key and went to get the bolt cutters from a friend.
He then went for some drinks and was on his way to cut the chain from his bike. The bolt cutters were too large to put in his bag and Mr Perez carried them.
They saw a fox running across the street and followed it, he said.
Asked why he did not give the gardai his address, he said: "I just did not understand what they wanted and that is why I told them we were looking for a fox.
"I thought that would be the normal type of answer to give so they would leave us alone."
The prosecuting garda said it was not a believable excuse.
Mr Perez said they followed the fox because they "wanted to see him close up".
He put the bolt cutters in his jacket because he "knew it would look wrong".
"I have no doubt but their intentions were for illegal activities," Judge McNamara said.