A MAN who was described by Judge James McNulty as an ‘expert thief’ has been sentenced to three months in prison for taking €70 from a woman at an ATM machine in Clonakilty.
He was later released on bail, as he indicated he would be appealing.
Jaroslav Kroka of 26 Molaga Street, Clonakilty pleaded guilty to the charge at a recent sitting of Clonakilty District Court.
Supt Ger O’Mahony told the court that on May 23rd 2016, gardaí in Clonakilty received a call about a theft at an ATM machine. The court was told a woman had just taken out €70 from an ATM when the defendant approached her and frustrated her, resulting in her failing to take the money from the dispenser, and he took the cash.
Supt O’Mahony said the incident was captured on CCTV and gardai later arrested the defendant and took him to Clonakilty Garda Station. Mr Kroka admitted the offence and returned the €70 to the injured party. Judge James McNulty commended the gardaí for arresting him so quickly.
Supt O’Mahony said the defendant had 14 previous convictions for a variety of offences, including theft.
Solicitor Jim Brooks said his client made amends and gave back the money almost immediately once he was arrested and he made an admission to gardaí that he stole the money.
‘There were no aggravating factors with this and it was more of an opportunistic theft,’ said Mr Brooks.
Judge McNulty described it as ‘rob from your face, rob from your back’ and pointed out the defendant has form for this type of offence.
Mr Brooks said that while his client has ‘burnt a lot of bridges’ he is gainfully employed since March 8th by Irish Yogurts in Clonakilty where he was described as being ‘hardworking and punctual’.
‘If he’s sent to prison he could lose his employment and he still doing 43 hours as part of a Community Service order already,’ said Mr Brooks.
Judge McNulty said that there were two mitigating factors in that the defendant admitted it early on, and he produced the money he had stolen.
‘However, the credit for that is diminished as he was caught so fast,’ said Judge McNulty.
‘The defendant has previous convictions for theft and he received a 30-day suspended sentence at Bandon District Court in January of this year, yet by May 23rd he’s reoffending again and this time he won’t be getting a suspended sentence.’
‘This was a distraction theft, and there’s no doubt he’s an expert thief,’ added Judge McNulty.
Judge McNulty convicted and fined him €100 and sentenced him to three months in prison. In respect of an appeal, Judge McNulty set recognisances in his own bond of €100 and one independent surety of €900 with a third in cash provided. The defendant’s brother came to court later and signed the surety, which secured bail for the defendant.