Burglar caught on CCTV having haircut in barbers next door to burgled premises

A burglar was identified after he was caught on CCTV having his hair cut in the barbers next door to the premises he broke into, a court has heard.

By Fiona Ferguson

Matthew Ahern (53), of St Brigid’s Court, Raheny, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Collins Avenue East, Killester on February 17, 2016.

He has 48 previous convictions including seven burglaries and one robbery.

Garda Laura Nulty told Grainne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that the homeowner heard rustling noises at a dresser and initially thought it was her husband but when she turned to look saw Ahern with her iPad and laptop. She grabbed them back and he took two phones before leaving the house.

The court heard he had gained entry to the house by smashing a panel in the front door.

Gardai recovered CCTV from the barbers next door which showed Ahern having a hair cut immediately prior to the burglary. He was arrested and initially denied involvement.

Gda Nulty agreed with Seoirse O’Dunlaing BL, defending, that although it was traumatic for the woman to find an unknown male in her home, there had been limited interaction between them.

She agreed he had no implements on him and it had been a “smash and grab.”

Mr O’Dunlaing said Ahern had worked with his father after leaving school but entered a cycle of offending behaviour after falling into drug addiction. He submitted that prior to 2016 there had been a gap of seven years in serious offending while he was engaging with various agencies.

He handed a number of reports into court and said Ahern wished to apologise for the offence.

Counsel asked Judge Karen O’Connor to allow Ahern complete a stabilisation program to address his long standing drug addiction.

Judge O’Connor said it was hard to take Ahern’s apology seriously when he had initially denied being the culprit.

“This lady’s home was violated and I take that very seriously,” she said.

She noted the reports handed into court and adjourned sentencing until October to allow Ahern complete the stabilisation program. She ordered a probation report to be prepared and asked it address his risk of re-offending.

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