Radu Muntenau with an address at Applewoods Lawn, Tallaght, was handed a seven-month prison sentence, suspended on condition he pays a €1,000 to the court poor box and not enter the county of Kerry for the two-year period, after he appeared in Tralee District Court yesterday.
Muntenau arrived with €700 as compensation for his victim and handed the money to the gardaí.
The phone had already been recovered, the court heard, and when interviewed in May, he admitted to the theft and said he was sorry.
Inspector Tony Sugrue said that on the night of August 18, 2003, at the Abbey Bar, Bridge St, Tralee, Muntenau took the black iPhone from the woman’s purse which was inside her handbag.
This was during the Rose of Tralee festival.
He has 39 previous convictions, for motoring offences primarily. Six of the convictions were for theft, Insp Sugrue outlined.
Muntenau is a married father of two and is unemployed, his solicitor said, adding that he was drunk on the occasion of the theft. He was in receipt of €340 a week jobseeker’s allowance from the Department of Social Protection and was paying €200 a month in rent.
Judge James O’Connor sentenced him to seven months in prison, but suspended the sentence on condition he pays €1,000 to the court poor box by December and that he not enter Kerry again for two years from today.