A 14-year-old-boy, who was involved a spate of ATM scams where five men each had €200 stolen from under their noses, has been given a six-month sentence by Judge Ann Ryan at the Dublin Children’s Court.
She suspended the sentence for one year after hearing today that €1,000 in compensation had been made available to be divided among the victims.
She had also been told and that the teenager was co-operating with the Probation Service to address his offending. The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother is also enrol in school in September and in the mean time will be attending literacy classes.
Judge Ryan had said parental supervision of the boy, who has been arrested across Ireland for thefts, seemed to be non-existent.
Armed with a newspaper and using sleight of hand and distracting his unsuspecting victims, the boy repeatedly stole their money at bank machines, the court was told.
The out-of-school boy, who is originally from Romania, had pleaded guilty to five counts of theft of €200 from men at bank machines, on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, on separate dates in January and February last.
He also admitted attempted theft of €200 from a man at an ATM on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street, on December 31 last.
Garda Colm Godfrey, of Store Street station, said that during all of the similarly styled thefts, the boy had approached the victims “holding a newspaper and distracted them by waving it in front of the screen, so he could steal €200.”
The boy had netted €1,000, which was not recovered.
The court heard that he had recorded convictions for thefts and earlier a Garda had said the boy had: 51 live charges before the courts, his offences had been committed nationwide; the boy had been arrested for thefts at ATMs in counties Dublin, Galway, Sligo and Kildare.
He added that most of the boy’s charges related to stealing from people as they made cash withdrawals. There had been 17 arrests for that in 2007 and the boy had not turned up for his court cases on eight occasions.
Judge Ryan had said: “Parental supervision does not exist at this stage. He is only 14 and roaming the country, the court would have grave reservations.”
“He must realise that if he does not want to spend a very long time in custody he has to concentrate his mind now.