Courier driver stole 13 iPhones worth €11,000

A DRIVER at a west Dublin courier service who stole a box of iPhones worth €11,000 has been told to pay compensation to avoid a prison sentence.

Neil McDonnell was caught on CCTV stealing the 13 phones in a theft that had “no sophistication,” Blanchardstown District Court heard. He had debts from addictions to gambling and drugs at the time.

blanchardstown courthouse

Blanchardstown District Court

Judge David McHugh adjourned the case for a year and said he would consider giving McDonnell a 240-hour community service order instead of a five-month prison sentence if €5,000 was paid back.

The accused, aged 52, with an address at Limekiln Road, Greenhills pleaded guilty to theft at Securispeed, Ninth Lock Road, Clondalkin on February 13, 2020.

Sergeant Maria Callaghan said on February 17, a report was taken of an alleged theft at the premises earlier.

A staff member, the accused, could be seen on CCTV taking a box containing 13 iPhone 11s, with a combined value of €11,202, from a loading bay in the premises.

He placed the box into a van that he was driving on the day.

When the matter was investigated, McDonnell presented himself at a garda station and made full admissions in interview, the court heard.

There was “no sophistication to this; the whole thing was captured on CCTV and they called him into the office,” McDonnell’s solicitor said.

The accused had worked all his life, including a period on cruise ships during which he became addicted to drugs.

When he returned to Ireland, he worked for a transport company for a number of years, his solicitor said. He had to be drug tested in that employment and became drug free.

When he left that job in 2017, he fell back into his old ways and built up a debt from both his addictions - gambling and narcotics.

McDonnell was someone who was “robbing from Peter to pay Paul” and his addiction problems fed into his attempts to make restitution, his solicitor continued.

At the moment, the accused was out of work and would turn his attention to the issue of compensation. He would be able to pay €3,000 within five months.

“I know it’s not €11,000 but it’s realistic and it’s a pathway forward for him,” the solicitor added.

Judge McHugh told the accused to pay €5,000 of the compensation by February 2022 and said if this was done he would consider 240 hours of community service instead of a five-month sentence.

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