A 55-year-old man has appeared before Mallow District Court in Co Cork charged with stealing money from locked collection boxes in churches by fishing the funds out with a wire hook.
The court heard that Chilimbar Vasile allegedly stole the envelopes containing cash from churches in Waterford and Cork.
The Romanian national was charged with a total of five thefts from churches in the two counties.
Mr Vasile of Eagle Valley, Sarsfield Road, Wilton, Cork city, was charged with thefts from churches in Shanagarry, Carrigtwohill and Cloyne in Co Cork and from a church in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.
Mr Vasile was charged with the theft of €15 from St Mary’s Church, Carrigtwohill on January 23 and an additional €15 from St Mary’s Church, Carrigtwohill a day later, both sums being the property of parish priest, Fr Patrick Winkle.
He was also charged with the theft of €5 from the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Shanagarry on November 21 2020 and the theft of €5 from St Colman’s Church, Cloyne on January 23rd, both sums being the property of parish priest, Fr Patrick Linehan.
Mr Vasile was also charged with the theft of €5 from St Augustine’s Church, Abbeyside in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on January 15th, the money being the property of Fr Ned Hassett.
Det Garda David Kelleher told Judge Patricia Harney that gardaí had no objection to bail being granted in the case as long as strict bail conditions were adhered to by the accused.
Solicitor David O’Meara, representing Mr Vasile, said his client was willing to abide by the terms of bail set down by the courts.
Det Garda Kelleher said gardaí wanted Mr Vasile to sign on daily at Togher Garda station in Cork city. He was also told to stay out of Carrigtwohill, Cloyne, Shanagarry and Dungarvan in addition to other churches in the area.
Det Garda Kelleher said the garda probe was ongoing and that further charges may be brought in the case. He applied for an adjournment of six weeks to facilitate DPP directions in the matter.
Judge Harney granted the state application.
She remanded Mr Vasile, who was granted legal aid, on his own bond of €100 to appear at Midleton District Court on March 11.