THE owner of a well-known County Limerick pub had to spend €600 on changing the locks of the premises after a handbag containing the keys was robbed by a mother-of-two.
Michelle Cronin, 31, of Abbeyowney, Murroe was before Kilmallock Court charged with theft at Crokers Bar, Murroe on October 20 last.
Sergeant Michelle Leahy of Bruff garda station told the court that on the date in question at 2.14am the defendant took a handbag which had been left unattended by the owner at the front door of Crokers pub in Murroe.
The court heard there were various items in the bag - the majority of which were returned.
Sgt Leahy explained that there was a set of keys which weren’t returned which resulted in the owner of the pub having to change the locks which amounted to €600.
Solicitor for Cronin, Michael O’Donnell, said that it was his client’s first time before the courts. He explained that the mother-of-two has suffered ill-health and has undergone two heart operations.
He said his client returned most of the items and didn’t foresee the problem with the keys – “that changing the locks would amount to €600”.
Mr O’Donnell said his client was in court with €60 “to make some effort”.
Judge Timothy Lucey told Mr O’Donnell that his client “would have to do better than that”.
Judge Lucey acknowledged that Cronin had no previous convictions, was pleading guilty and was making some effort to pay compensation for the financial loss suffered.
“It’s a normal consequence that if anybody steals a key that people will have to change their locks. It’s not such a remote consequence that she couldn’t foresee it,” he added.
“The value she gets from it is nil but the damage the owner suffers is considerable,” he continued.
Judge Lucey said it was a “negative quantity all the way”.
“I don’t see why the injured party should have to suffer that,” he added.
Mr O’Donnell said his client had paid €60 in compensation and added “it’s not that she won’t but she can’t” in relation to paying out more in terms of compensation.
He reiterated that she was a mother-of-two who has medical difficulties.
Judge Lucey said: “I think we have probably gone as far as we can go.”
He said he understood the defendant has responsibilities and medical difficulties “but she has to understand that this has to be the end of this type of stuff”.
Judge Lucey applied the Probation Act.