‘Well known’ thief sentenced to prison

A PORTLAOISE man “well known to the court” with 124 previous convictions was last week sentenced to prison for his latest offences, which included burglary and attempting to steal goods from a parked vehicle.

A PORTLAOISE man “well known to the court” with 124 previous convictions was last week sentenced to prison for his latest offences, which included burglary and attempting to steal goods from a parked vehicle.

In sentencing Thomas Conroy, of 21 Lakeglen, Portlaoise, Judge Catherine Staines said she was sympathetic to his drug addiction, but she had a duty to protect the public from having their homes broken into and property taken. The judge also noted that on the last date Conroy was due in court, he turned up clearly under the influence of an intoxicant.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly outlined the evidence of Conroy’s latest crimes.

On February 8 this year, the owner of a vehicle parked at Railway Street, Portlaoise, observed Conroy opening his van and attempting to remove a number of tools.

On April 11, gardaí received a call of a burglary at 8 Ridge Road, Portlaoise. Conroy had entered a garden shed through the side window and had tools ready to be taken away when he was disturbed by the injured party. When disturbed, Conroy fled the scene.

“He’s well known to court,” said Inspector Farrelly, adding that most of Conroy’s 124 previous convictions were for public order offences, although there are numerous theft and burglary convictions.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that in relation to the incident at Railway Street, the van had been unlocked and Conroy had moved certain tools inside the vehicle.

In relation to the burglary, Ms Fitzpatrick said it happened very late at night and Conroy fled the scene when caught.

She said that Conroy has a very chronic heroin addiction and is over reliant on alcohol. Defence suggested that perhaps the court would consider community service, something Conroy had never been asked to do before.

However, Judge Staines said that community service was unrealistic.

“I have to protect the public from having their homes broken into and their property taken,” she said.

Judge Staines imposed a six-month sentence, but suspended the last three months for Conroy to engage with the probation service.

“Hopefully, this will allow you to complete a detox,” the judge told Conroy.