17 Aug 2022

Laois pharmacy burglars jailed for €128,000 spree across seven counties

'Attack' on rural Ireland

crime garda

Two Romanian men appeared in custody at Tullamore courthouse

Two men have been jailed for five years for a series of burglaries from pharmacies in Laois, Longford, Tipperary and four other counties which Judge Keenan Johnson said was an attack on rural Ireland.

Sorin Aurelian Damaschin, 30, Crumlin Road, Dublin 12 and Matei Siminica, 30, of no fixed abode, were sentenced to seven years in prison with the final two suspended after Portlaoise Circuit Court, sitting in Tullamore, heard the value of stolen goods and damage caused was about €128,000.

The two men, both Romanian, pleaded guilty to stealing high-end perfumes and after shave, plus cash, from pharmacies in counties Longford, Roscommon, Meath, Laois, Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford over a two-month period between May and July last year.

At each of the premises they smashed the door with a hammer in the middle of the night and loaded the items and cash into bags before driving away.

In addition to the burglaries from pharmacies, they admitted stealing a mobile phone and personal items from a car parked in a car park in Nenagh.

The men told gardai when interviewed that they sold the cosmetics at knockdown prices to markets in Dublin city centre.

“This type of offending is a serious attack on legitimate commercial businesses. It's a serious attack on the services that are provided in rural Ireland,” said Judge Johnson.

He said it was clear from victim impact statements that the offences had a profound and negative impact on the proprietors of the premises and staff and afterwards they were all concerned and nervous.

He said one could not but have sympathy of “all these decent hardworking people who are trying to earn a legitimate living and they're subjected to this type of nasty crime”.

The courts were obliged to protect such businesses and send out a clear message that the perpetrators would suffer a significant sanction.

He noted that most of the businesses were covered by insurance but their premiums were going to go up.

“And the cost of dealing with these claims is levied on everybody who pay their taxes and their insurance premiums so there's a cost to society”.

He also noted that the owner of the car in Nenagh had lost many photographs and mementoes of sentimental value and that was very hurtful to her and difficult for her.

The perfumes stolen from a pharmacy in the town of Longford had a cost price of nearly €12,000 but would have had a retail value of nearly €22,000, the court heard.

The total value of goods and cash stolen from a pharmacy in Cahir, Co Tipperary was over €35,000 while a pharmacy in Portlaoise lost nearly €6,500 worth of stock and €1,685 in cash.

Pharmacies in Enfield and the town of Roscommon were at a loss of nearly €11,000 in stock each and the cost price of stock stolen from a similar business in Dungarvan was over €28,000.

The court heard with the exception of €100 worth of sunglasses taken from one pharmacy in Enniscorthy, nothing was recovered.

The men were captured on CCTV wearing masks and gloves during the raids but in a couple of instances they were recorded looking at premises the day before the burglaries.

They were also linked with a car used in a number of the burglaries and when arrested in July last year they made admissions.

The men had previous convictions in Spain and both have been in custody in Ireland since July 9 last year.

Judge Johnson backdated the sentences to that date and the suspension of the final two years was conditional on them entering a peace bond for 15 years and leaving Ireland within seven days of their release from prison.

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