Teen guilty of ‘distraction burglary’

A teenage boy is facing sentence for taking part in a “distraction burglary” at the south Dublin home of an 88-year-old woman who is partially blind.

The 17-year-old was spotted by an off-duty garda sneaking inside her home after she let his accomplice go into her garden when he pretended to be looking for a ball.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty at Dublin Children’s Court to burglary at the woman’s Terenure home on the afternoon of July 9 last year.

The court heard he and another youth planned to carry out distraction burglaries to get money to go shopping.

Garda John Wynne told Judge John O’Connor that a second youth approached the woman’s front door and rang the doorbell.

When she answered, “he told her he lived around the corner and that he had kicked a ball into her garden”.

He asked if he could get his ball back and the elderly woman accompanied him to her garden.

Meanwhile, the teenage defendant, then aged 16, entered her driveway and was spotted by an off-duty garda as he went inside and headed upstairs.

The court heard the youth made his way to an upstairs bedroom where he was seen by the elderly woman’s son. He then left and escaped while the accomplice was detained by the garda. No property was taken during the burglary.

The court heard that the youth was arrested in September last year. He had no prior criminal convictions and is in school.

Garda Wynne agreed with John Quinn, defending, that the youth was co-operative when he was interviewed and that the elderly woman had been unaware of what was happening.

He had no prior criminal convictions and has not come to Garda attention since.

The court heard that when he was held for questioning, he told gardaí that he and his accomplice “were going to do more distraction burglaries to get money to go shopping”.

Judge O’Connor described it as a frightening and horrific incident but noted the teenager’s guilty plea which spared the woman from having to give evidence.

He adjourned sentencing to allow time for a probation report on the teen to be prepared.

He also warned him that if he gets a negative report, he faces the risk of getting a custodial sentence.

The boy was accompanied to court by his mother, who listened to the proceedings with the help of a Romanian translator.

An 18-year-old youth, who allegedly claimed he needed to look for the ball in the elderly woman’s garden, is due in court next week.


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