A man snatched a handbag from a woman in Portlaoise town centre before stealing the contents of the purse and throwing the remaining items away.
Adam Mullen (20), of 27 Ashgrove, Mountmellick was charged with theft at Towerhill, Portlaoise on March 16, 2019 when he appeared before last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court.
The court heard the incident occurred at 3.50 pm when the defendant snatched the handbag from the 55-year-old woman.
The purse was taken from the handbag, with the handbag then thrown in the middle of the road a number of metres away. The defendant was later identified from CCTV footage.
The handbag was valued at €350, the purse at €120 and €30 in cash was taken.
Defence solicitor Josephine Fitzpatrick said the defendant had a gambling problem at the time.
He had been working in America and Spain for a while and has since paid off his debts.
“It was a very mean act, born out of his difficulties,” Ms Fitzpatrick said. The defendant had €100 before the court.
“Thankfully the handbag and purse were recovered, though no thanks to him,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“He gave the victim a terrible fright,” she said.
“This is an extremely serious matter,” Judge Catherine Staines said.
“It merits a 12-month prison sentence, which is the most I can give him,” she said.
Judge Staines said she would like a victim impact report and a probation report, prior to sentencing.
The case was adjourned to February 11 next.