A man annoyed because he had to push his child’s buggy onto the road due to a number of parked cars on the footpath later returned with a screwdriver and damaged 27 vehicles.
Krzysztof Stefaniak was drunk when he left his house in the early hours of the morning to carry out the criminal damage and had no memory of the incident, which was spotted in CCTV.
Stefaniak, of 2 Lucey’s Lane in Macroom in Co Cork faced 27 separate summonses in relation to the damaged vehicles and pleaded guilty to all.
Judge James McNulty heard at Macroom District Court that the estimated cost of the damage to 11 of the parked vehicles is €10,511. Work is continuing on estimates for the remainder and the judge said the final bill could be closer to €40,000.
Sgt Brian Harte told the judge that on February 24 last a Garda on duty at the local station received a call regarding criminal damage to a car parked on New St.
On attending the scene gardaí subsequently discovered criminal damage to 27 vehicles parked on the left-hand side of the road, which Sgt Harte described as “deep gouges or scrapes along the panels of the vehicles”.
It was determined that the damage had been carried out overnight and gardaí reviewed CCTV which showed an individual at 2.36am walking up the street and carrying an implement and then scraping the side of the cars.
The man was identified as Stefaniak and he was later arrested on March 8. The court heard he initially denied any knowledge of what occurred but later admitted the offences during interview.
The judge heard the defendant had been drinking heavily the previous night, having earlier been out with his partner and child, who was in a buggy.
Sgt Harte said that at that earlier stage the family had been walking down New St and Stefaniak had been unable to walk with the buggy on the footpath because of cars parked up on it.
When he later left his house he walked the length of New St with the screwdriver and damaged each vehicle.
The court heard Stefaniak has seven previous convictions, including for an assault and, more than a decade ago, for drink-driving.
His solicitor, Patrick Goold, said Stefaniak is 39 and a father of three. His youngest child is eight months old and was born prematurely and requires constant care. He has worked consistently and had already saved €4,000 in compensation with the intention of raising more.
“He has no memory of doing it,” Mr Goold said. “When he got absolutely drunk he did this.”
Judge McNulty gave Stefaniak some credit for his early guilty plea and for the sum of compensation already raised but said what occurred was “wilful, destructive damage to motor cars”.
“Whatever was bothering him, this was outrageous behaviour,” he said.
The court heard that the damage to 11 of the vehicles had been estimated at €10,511 but the judge said that even though many of the vehicles will have insurance cover, there could be an increase in the cost of premiums. He said the total cost could be €40,000.
Mr Goold said the exact quantum needed to be established and that some cars may not have repair work carried out.
Judge McNulty sentenced Stefaniak to 10 months in prison and fixed recognisance for any appeal at €100, no cash required. He asked gardaí to arrange for the €4,000 raised by Stefaniak to be split between the 27 motorists as “token compensation” of €150 each and said by the time of any appeal Stefaniak may have raised more money in relation to the damage.