Gardaí track stolen beer kegs via car, phone, and CCTV

Five kegs of beer stolen from a premises in Cork City were delivered to a pub in West Cork a little over an hour later, leading to a man being convicted of handling stolen goods.

John O’Donoghue of 24 Fairfield Meadows, Fair Hill, in Cork City had pleaded guilty to the charge after gardaí managed to link the vehicle used in transporting the stolen beer to him and then, using his mobile phone, to the pub where the kegs were delivered.

A sitting of Clonakilty District Court heard that CCTV taken from the bar showed the accused and another man rolling the kegs onto the premises.

Insp Pat Meaney, prosecuting, told the court that on November 7 last the five kegs of beer were taken from St Columba’s Hall in Douglas near Cork City in a green Ford Mondeo.

At around 3am the following morning the same vehicle was spotted in a village in West Cork by gardaí who noted it was unoccupied. A short time later two men — one of whom was Mr O’Donoghue — were arrested for public order offences. Gardaí established that he had the keys to the vehicle, and had established that it was involved in the removal of the kegs in Douglas.

Correspondence on Mr O’Donoghue’s phone then linked him to the pub, some distance away.

Gardaí later visited the bar and downloaded CCTV footage which showed that at 10.29pm the previous night, a little over an hour after the kegs were stolen, Mr O’Donoghue and another man were seen rolling the kegs across the yard of the pub.

The court heard that €700 was paid for the kegs.

Mr O’Donoghue was arrested on November 8 and admitted handling the goods.

Judge James McNulty, hearing the case, said of the series of events and the investigation: “Is that not a tribute to good police work?”

The court heard Mr O’Donoghue, 38, has 50 previous convictions, the most recent being one for burglary handed down at a sitting of Cork City District Court on March 23 last. Other past convictions included six for theft and a previous conviction in 2002 for handling stolen goods.

His solicitor, Ray Hennessy, said another man has also been convicted for handling the stolen kegs but that no one has been convicted for the theft.

He said his client, a father-of-three, had had a severe drink problem but has not drank since last December and got married last September. He said Mr O’Donoghue had brought €100 to court in compensation and if given time would raise more, adding: “He is trying to get his act together.”

Judge McNulty said Mr O’Donoghue was caught “red handed” on CCTV. He sentenced him to eight months in prison, to which Mr O’Donoghue has already lodged an appeal. The judge imposed as a condition of his bail that he does not visit any town or place in West Cork pending his appeal.


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