A forklift operator, who stole a replica head of one of the Twelve Apostles from the National Wax Museum, has been remanded on bail pending sentence.
Father-of-three Michael Murray, 33, apologised at Dublin District Court today.
Murray, who was of no fixed abode but now residing at accommodation provided by the Peter McVerry Trust in Naas, Co. Kildare, pleaded guilty to theft and criminal damage charges in connection with the incident on August 21 last.
The wax dummy head was one of three famous figures, which included an Irish sportsman, that were taken from the National Wax Museum on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street.
A 33-year-old woman who was the co-defendant is facing a separate court date.
Judge John Brennan heard that the unnamed apostle's head taken by Murray was worth about €10,000 and it sustained €200 worth of damage as a result of the theft.
Garda Niall Cunningham, who caught Murray with the head, said the accused had 124 prior convictions which included criminal damage, assault, theft and knife possession charges.
Pleading for leniency, defence barrister Rory Mulvaney said his client had difficulties with alcohol and periods of homelessness for 14 years.
He now resided in accommodation in Naas and was keeping out of Dublin.
Counsel said Murray did not realise the seriousness of the matter which “got out of hand”.
Unemployed Murray was sorry and apologised to the Garda via his barrister who added that he would be willing to pay compensation if given time, to show remorse.
He has been engaging with a Simon Community detox programme, the court was also told.
Judge Brennan heard Murray went thought a difficult spell after a close relative passed away.
However, he has got back into contact with his mother and was attending the Probation Service.
Counsel said Murray worked previously as a forklift operator but his licence has lapsed.
The breakdown of family relations led to some difficulties.
Judge Brennan remarked that the incident was clearly a prank for Murray, “but”, he added, “not for the wax museum”.
He would have been minded to give a custodial sentence if it had been a bona fide attempt to steal, and not a prank, he said.
He noted Murray's circumstances and that he had returned to drinking but he was dealing with his issues and further progress may be made.
The accused was remanded on continuing bail for a probation report and compensation for the wax museum.
The case resumes in February.