€1k stolen with sleight of hand 'like a three-card trick'

After viewing CCTV footage of the incident at a garage, judge gives accused chance to avoid conviction by compensating victim 
€1k stolen with sleight of hand 'like a three-card trick'

The judge said that if Mr Moncinskas gathered €1,250 to the garage then the theft charge would be struck out. Picture: iStock

A skillful sleight of hand worthy of a three-card trick was used by a man to take an envelope containing over €1,000 in €50 notes that had been left on the counter of a garage by another customer.

One of the main pieces of evidence put forward in the theft prosecution of 42-year-old Vidas Moncinskas of Templemichael, Whitescross, Co Cork, by Inspector Gillian Sinnott at Cork District Court was CCTV evidence from over the counter.

The disputed incident occurred on October 15 2018 at Michael O’Connor Motors, Glanmire, Co Cork.

The defendant denied stealing a white envelope containing 1,050 in denominations of €50 notes.

Judge Con O’Leary said at the end of the prosecution case that he had viewed the CCTV of the incident again in his chambers.

“When I looked at the CCTV I could see it was extremely skillfully done. It was done with a certain skill, like someone doing a three-card trick – distraction with the right hand and the left hand is doing what needs to be done,” Judge O’Leary said.

The defendant admitted to his own barrister, Donal O’Callaghan, in direct examination was that he could see something white on the counter when he arrived there and that this was not there when he left 29 minutes later but he said he did not steal the envelope.

“I am 42. Never in my life no one ever blamed me for stealing something,” he said.

Insp Sinnott cross-examined the defendant about opening a cloth on the counter to show some spare parts about which he was enquiring. The inspector said that by minute movements the defendant covered the envelope with his cloth and then gathered up the envelope in his cloth when he was leaving.

The defendant replied “no, no, no”m to that suggestion.

Judge O’Leary said: “I am satisfied he took it. But at the age of 42 he has a limited record.” 

The judge said that if Mr Moncinskas gathered €1,250 to the garage then the theft charge would be struck out. If that was not done, the judge said, he would convict the accused and impose a fine instead of half that amount, €625, instead.

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