A MAN who stole an airgun from a store in Limerick city due to “pressure from drug suppliers” was apprehended after he returned to the same store to get gas to fire the gun, Limerick District Court has heard.
James Long, aged 40, from Greenmount Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, was charged with stealing a 3PX4 BB airgun, worth €138, from Airsoft on William Street on August 8, 2012.
The accused formerly resided in O’Malley Park, Southill, where he burned down his neighbour’s home, after he believed his wife had given him a New Year’s kiss.
He received a suspended three-year sentence for the arson attack and was ordered by Judge Carroll Moran to stay out of trouble during that period.
The airgun was recovered after Long returned to the store when he realised he needed gas to use the airgun.
Sgt Donal Cronin told the court that “the State isn’t concerned that there’s anything more serious going on than a theft”.
Prior to this offence, gardai were called to Lidl on the Childers Road on June 25, 2011, where the defendant was attempting to commit a robbery.
Wearing a balaclava, he made gestures to staff alluding that he was holding a weapon in order to steal cash.
“He didn’t have a firearm on him and his efforts to secure money were unsuccessful. The security officer was in fear, but he declined to hand over money and a struggle ensued where the accused was unmasked” added Sgt Cronin.
He said CCTV footage of this incident was also viewed by gardai, and said they could understand why staff would have been in fear during the attempted robbery.
The court was told he has a number of previous convictions for theft, intoxication and drugs.
Mr McCarthy said his client co-operated fully with gardai, was “under significant pressure at the time from drugs suppliers”, and has now commenced a methadone programme for his addiction.
However, it was noted by the court that he began this programme a month prior to stealing the airgun. Judge O’Kelly said there were “farcical elements” to both of these cases, and remanded Long on continuing bail to January 9, when a probation report is due on his progress.