A man described as "an accomplished conman" by a judge has been jailed after pleading guilty to scamming money out of till staff in four separate business premises in four West Cork towns.
Emanuel Radau, of 67 Cosby Avenue, Fairgreen in Portlaoise, appeared before Bandon District Court in relation to the charges, where additional charges relating to incidents in counties Donegal, Louth and Tipperary were also put to him.
Sgt Brian Harte said the first incident in West Cork occurred at 7.30pm on September 6 last when Mr Radau entered Dino's restaurant on Pier Road in the town and engaged with the person operating the till.
He had a quantity of €20 notes and asked for them to be changed into €50 notes, only to change his mind midway through the transaction. Sgt Harte said Mr Radau made off with €200 from the premises, which was not recovered.
Then on September 28 Mr Radau attempted the same scam in four different locations and was successful three times.
First he entered SuperValu in Dunmanway at 5.05pm and produced €500 in €20 notes and asked a staff member to change them into €50 notes, only to again change his mind midway through the transaction. In that case he made off with €200.
Then at 6pm on the same date he went into Maxol at The Miles in Clonakilty. Employing the same method, he made off with €250. He then went to Centra on Chapel St in Bantry, entering that store at 7.55pm, and successfully taking €150 from the shop, again using the same method.
At 8pm he entered SuperValu in Bantry and attempted the same scam, but the shop assistant became suspicious and Mr Radau left without any additional money. The most recent episode was at 5.30pm on October 26 last when he entered SuperValu in Kinsale and again attempted to use the scam to get money, but again proved unsuccessful.
Mr Radau was arrested a little over a week ago and first appeared before a special sitting of the district court last Saturday.
In Bandon District Court today, Judge James McNulty heard Mr Radau had no previous convictions and was told by Mr Radau's solicitor, Eamonn Fleming, that another surname provided to gardaí in other cases before other courts around the country was his mother's maiden name. The court heard gardaí were now satisfied that his name, date of birth and address were correct.
Mr Fleming said his client lived in Portlaoise with his wife and child and, as a previous court had heard, had been in the country for two months.
Det. Garda Maurice Shanley of Skibbereen Garda Station said he had documentation proving that Mr Radau entered the country on September 3 last, but the court also heard that he had come to garda attention as far back as March 17 last year.
Judge McNulty was told Mr Radau was not claiming any benefit and was able to pay full compensation in relation to the amounts of money taken. Mr Fleming said his client had also pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
But the judge said that while the crimes did not involve violence, they did involve deceit and deception and were the work of a conman, "someone who practices sleight of hand, distraction and theft.
"He is clearly a very accomplished conman," Judge McNulty said.
He sentenced Mr Radau to eight months in prison on each of the charges, the sentences to run concurrently and backdated to last Saturday. Recognisance for appeal was set at Mr Radau's own bond of €1,000 and an independent surety of €3,000, one-third in cash.
Details of additional charges in relation to offences alleged to have been carried out by Mr Radau in other parts of the country were also heard in court. Det. Garda John McCarthy of Bandon Garda station said he put four charges to Mr Radau, to which he made no reply, regarding alleged incidents in Co. Donegal in August, September and October of this year. He was remanded in custody to appear before the District Court in Donegal next Monday.
Det. Garda Maurice Shanley said he had put a charge relating to an alleged incident on June 6 last in Dundalk to Mr Radau, to which he had made no reply. He was remanded in custody to appear before the District Court in Dundalk on November 13 next.
Det. Garda Oliver Hennelly of Roscrea Garda Station said new charges had been put to Mr Radau relating to alleged offences in Borrisoleigh and Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall, to which he had made no reply. He was remanded to appear before Nenagh District Court on November 14 next.
In addition, a co-accused in relation to the first of the West Cork incidents also appeared before Judge McNulty in Bandon District Court.
Krause Kvec, otherwise known as Denis Horbas and aged 28, pleaded guilty to one charge relating to the incident at Dino's Restaurant in Kinsale on September 6 last. The court heard that he committed this offence while on bail and that he had five previous convictions.
Judge McNulty sentenced Mr Kvec, also of 67 Cosby Avenue in Fairgreen, Portlaoise, to eight months in jail. Recognisance for appeal, as with Mr Radau, was set at €1,000 on his own bond and an independent surety of €3,000, one-third in case.