A homeless man living in a tent on a green area by Mahon Point shopping centre was befriended by a young man who then waited until the tent was unoccupied and stole it.
Vincent Connors, aged 23, and of 2 Meelagh Drive, Mahon, Cork, was jailed for a total of 16 months yesterday for this theft and other crimes, including one where he bit a security man at the same centre.
Commenting on the theft of the tent, Judge Olann Kelleher said: “A very upsetting offence was carried out on July 28, 2019 where he engaged with and got the trust of a man who was homeless, living in a tent in very difficult circumstances, and stole his tent from him – in effect, stealing his home. A terrible thing to do.”
The judge imposed an eight-month sentence for the theft and a consecutive sentence of eight months for two incidents of assault causing harm.
Many of the defendant’s crimes were committed in and around Mahon Point shopping centre between mid-2019 and the end of the year.
“He would like to engage in rehabilitation but he has not done anything positive about it yet even though his mother has been pleading with him.
“Without that it is going to be a spiral of criminality. Leaving aside alcohol, he has social and educational difficulties. I don’t think he has a degree of empathy because of these social and educational difficulties,” Mr Buttimer said.
Garda Inspector Jason Lynch outlined the background to the various incidents.
“A homeless man at Mahon Point shopping centre became friendly with Vincent Connors when staying in the area in his tent. He stole the tent. The owner returned to find that it had been stolen,” Insp Lynch said.
“On October 18, 2019 there was a report of an intoxicated male at Mahon Point. Gardaí went there and found the defendant being restrained by security staff. Earlier that day he stole perfume costing €66 at Boots pharmacy. When confronted by security staff he punched the member of staff, cutting his lip,” Insp Lynch said.
During another shoplifting incident where Connors stole a small item of jewellery he was again confronted and he reacted by biting the security man on the arm.
Other crimes committed by Connors included the theft of a bicycle, which was captured on CCTV.
Connors was involved in various incidents of threatening behaviour, including one where he threatened a security man that he would see him outside his house before adding: “You are dead.”
During a public order incident at Douglas village on October 11, 2019 he was abusive to gardaí, calling them bastards and shouting, “I’m going to kick your heads in.”
Concluding sentencing and imposing the total 16-month term, Judge Kelleher described the biting as “a vicious assault.”