'Prolific' burglar gets 18 months' jail after Raheen spree

A TEENAGER described by a judge as "a prolific burglar who has run riot around the city of Limerick" has been jailed for 18 months.

A TEENAGER described by a judge as "a prolific burglar who has run riot around the city of Limerick" has been jailed for 18 months.

Stephen Grace, 19, of Rhebogue Road, and a co-accused Darren Curtin, 18, of Railway House, Spitland, Old Cork Road, were responsible for a string of burglaries and break-ins in the Meadowvale area of Raheen which Garda inspector Seamus Ruane told Limerick District Court had caused a great deal of concern in the community.

At least five homes were interfered with that morning, the court heard. Curtin had only got out of prison the previous Tuesday.

Both accused were arrested on Sunday, January 30, after gardai received reports of two youths attempting to break into cars in the Meadowvale area at around 7.40am.

Darren Curtin was sentenced to 10 months in jail. Curtin had "taken tablets or some other substance at the time and instructs me that he was out of his head". As a man who had only just got out of prison, "the normal course of events would be to drag this out for as long as possible" but Curtin had readily admitted to his involvement in the crimes and should be given credit for his plea and co-operation.

Chris Lynch, for Grace, said his client should also be given credit for his early plea and saving the state time and expense. Grace was in a full-time relationship with a child just a few weeks old. He was addicted to drugs and also had an alcohol problem, Mr Lynch said. Grace was also easily influenced as was being "manipulated by others".

Judge Tom O'Donnell said it was "almost gobsmacking the variety of charges before the court in respect of both defendants".

"As Ms Ryan says, a number of families have been affected by the goings-on of Mr Curtin and Mr Grace in the last number of days and they must have been very upset to have their property violated and stolen," the judge said.

Curtin was handed four 10-month sentences for three counts of theft and one count of criminal damage in Raheen on January 30, the sentences to be served concurrently.

The judge said in relation to Grace that "the only words which come to mind are how astonishingly prolific he has been". He had been before the court in October and released on bail subject to a number of conditions including an overnight curfew.

"It is crystal clear he had no regard for that curfew and just carried on regardless," the judge said.

"It is facile in some respects to say he is easily led. That may be true but it is equally true he knows right from wrong. He is a prolific burglar who has run riot around the city of Limerick."

For the three burglaries in Patrickswell, Mungret and Ballybrown in October and for handling the power washer, Grace was convicted and handed four 10-month sentences, to be served concurrently. For a burglary at Rhebogue in October he was sentenced to eight months in prison, this to be served consecutively.

The Meadowvale estate in Raheen was

targeted by teen burglars last month