Limerick Courthouse, Mulgrave Street
A SERIAL offender who broke into a number of commercial premises in Limerick city has been sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
Gerard Curtin, aged 41, who has an address at Upper William Street, had pleaded guilty to charges relating to incidents which occurred on dates late last year and earlier this year.
During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Mike Brennan said one premises was targeted on four separate occasions and that on each occasion, the defendant was identified on CCTV.
In one incident, last New Year's Eve, he 'kicked in' the front door of a premises to gain entry at around 8pm. He then went behind the counter and stole around €100 in cash.
The same premises was targeted on three other dates and cash was taken on each occasion. While another man - identified in court as Mr X- was present, he "kept watch" and did not enter the property.
Detective Brennan said the other charges before the court related to incidents which occurred on dates in February.
Cash and a computer tablet were taken from a restaurant after a rock was thrown through the window at around 8am on February 8 while a small amount of cash was taken from a shop in the city centre in the early hours of February 10.
In addition to CCTV evidence, Judge Tom O'Donnell was told a blood sample found inside the restaurant matched the defendant's DNA.
John O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said Mr Curtin has more than 100 previous convictions and that he was the subject of a suspended prison sentence when he committed the offences.
Barrister Pat Whyms, defending, asked the court to note the value of the property taken was "quite low" and that his client could not be questioned immediately after his arrest due to his level of intoxication.
"He was looking for money to feed his habit," he said adding that no violence was used and that all of the premises were closed at the time.
Imposing sentence, Judge O'Donnell said business people are entitled to to be protected from such behaviour.
"Owners are entitled to believe if they close up at night, the premises will still in intact the following day," he commented.
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