A man caught by “good old fashioned police work” selling a stolen car on the “Done Deal” website has been given a suspended sentence, writes Declan Brennan.
Lawyers for Robert O'Neill (26) said he was a “gilly” on the “lowest rung of the ladder” in this type of crime.
O'Neill of Thorndale Avenue, Artane, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to handling stolen property at Littlepace Park, Clonee, Dublin 15 on February 24, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to having no insurance on the same occasion.
Detective Garda Mark O'Regan told the court that in the majority of these cases “the brains behind the operation doesn't present the car for sale”.
Det Gda O'Regan from the Garda Stolen Motor Vehicles Investigation Unit told the court that he was browsing the website for suspicious car ads. He found a VW Passat with a guide price of €6,450, which in his view was below the market value.
He said he contacted the registered owner who was living in Co. Clare and this man said his car was not for sale and was parked outside his home.
Dt Gda O'Regan said that the registration of this car had been cloned and associated with a car stolen during a burglary earlier that month.
He said he arranged to meet the seller from the ad. He met O'Neill and arrested him and the stolen car was returned to the owner.
O'Neill's 25 previous convictions include one for assault but are mainly for road traffic offences. The father-of-two told gardaí he had a gambling addiction and was also addicted to cocaine.
Jennifer Jackson BL, defending, said that her client had amassed a debt of €10,000 from his drug use. She said he became beholden to some “very unsavoury individuals” who told him to put the ad up.
She said since this offence he had taken steps to deal with his addiction issues and had taken part in volunteer work. She said O'Neill had €1,000 in court to offer as compensation.
Judge Gerard Griffin commended Det Gda O'Regan for his “good old fashioned police work.”
He imposed a two year suspended sentence and disqualified O'Neill from driving for seven years.