Burglar claimed to be new employee when challenged by bookstore staff

The man pleaded guilty to several counts of theft and burglary in Cork
Burglar claimed to be new employee when challenged by bookstore staff

The Eason shop on St Patrick St, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

A burglar wandering around in the staff area of Eason’s on St Patrick’s Street coolly claimed to be a new employee when challenged about his presence there.

Judge Dara Hayes said that while there was no violent confrontation by the accused man in this or other burglaries, the offences would still have been frightening for the people involved.

“People are entitled to be at home and in work without being interfered with by burglars,” Judge Hayes said.

He imposed a total sentence of four years on Jamie Butler, 30, with the last two years suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

The accused was living at St Vincent’s hostel on Anglesea Terrace in Cork at the time and availing of homeless services. He pleaded guilty to this burglary and other similar offences.

Brendan Kelly, defending, said the offending was indicative of a man going around the city opportunistically stealing and carrying out burglaries.

“He had a chaotic lifestyle over a long and protracted period. It was literally a hand-to-mouth existence. 

He was taking everything he could get his hands on, indicative of this man going around the city opportunistically.

“In his sober mind, he accepts this was utterly wrong. All he can do is try and sort his addiction out. He tells me he absolutely needs to do that. He has to make a change or things could get utterly tragic for him.

“He is very sorry. He accepts he is a menace continuing the way he is. He feels he is capable of stopping. He did come before the court on signed pleas of guilty,” Mr Kelly said.

All of the offences of theft and burglary were carried out on various dates last August and September. Detective Garda Aoife Hayes said Jamie Butler carried out a number of similar offences on various dates in August and September 2021.

At 5.30pm on August 27, he went to Eason’s on St Patrick’s Street and went into an area of the store restricted to staff use only. He went into a staff room and stole some property, including €40 in cash and a Nike backpack.

On another occasion, the accused went to the Priory cafe on North Main St and requested an iced coffee. When the member of staff was making it, Butler took the contents of the tip jar which came to about €15. Unknown to the member of staff he used some of this stolen money to pay for the iced coffee.

Det Garda Hayes said the next day, he got into Lee Point apartments in the area and forced his way into a number of apartments.

He went into one apartment where a student resident was present. Butler left without confronting him saying he was looking for his friend.

When first charged, arrested and brought to Cork District Court, he was refused bail and fled from custody. He only got a short distance before pursuing gardaí nabbed him on Anglesea St, close to the court.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of escaping from lawful custody arising out of that attempt to run away from gardaí.

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