Home CCTV system catches burglar in the act

The Orchard, Kingston: where the attempted burglary took place.

Home security cameras captured a burglar, who has 91 previous convictions, using a crowbar to try and break into a house in broad daylight.

Thomas Sweeney (36), from 214 Castlepark, Ballybane, appeared in custody before Galway District Court as he is already serving a total of 17 months in prison for other offences.

He pleaded guilty to new charges of burglary at an unoccupied home at The Orchard, Kingston, Galway on the afternoon of November 27 last year and to a separate charge of handling almost €4,000 worth of copper cable, knowing it was stolen, at Ballybane Beg two days later on November 29.

Sweeney also pleaded guilty to smashing a window in a woman’s car which was parked at Liosban Industrial Estate and to stealing vouchers from the car and €80 cash at around 1pm on October 23, 2016.

Sergeant Georgina Lohan said CCTV cameras at the house at The Orchard in Kingston, captured clear images of Sweeney trying to break in at 2pm in the afternoon.

Sweeney tried in vain to force the front door open with a crowbar.  He went around to a side window but the fled the scene a short time later when he activated the house alarm while trying to open the window with the crowbar.

Two days later, Sweeney was caught red-handed loading stolen cable into the back of a van.

Sgt Lohan said the cable was rendered useless as it had been cut into short lengths so that it would fit inside the van.

She said that in relation to the theft of the vouchers, a woman had parked her car at Liosban at 1pm and gone about her business.  She returned a short time later to find the passenger’s window had been smashed in and there was a rock on the seat inside.

Her handbag, which contained €250 worth of vouchers and cash had been taken.

Blood found at the scene matched Sweeney’s DNA profile.

Defence solicitor, Valerie Corcoran, said her client was heavily addicted to drugs at the time and wanted to apologise to his family and the victims of his crimes.

Sergeant Lohan said Sweeney had 91 previous convictions, including some for other burglaries and thefts.

Noting Sweeney was already serving a 17-month sentence, Judge Fahy said the District Court’s jurisdiction was 24 months and she could not impose further sentences that would exceed that.

She said the burglary at the house in Kingston was the most serious offence as it was a family home which had been deliberately targeted by Sweeney who lived on the other side of the city.

She imposed a six-month sentence for that which is to be served on the termination of the sentences Sweeney is currently serving.

The judge imposed concurrent three-month and two-month sentences for the remaining charges, explaining that Sweeney’s sentences were now at 23 months and he had to be given some credit for pleading guilty.