Drunken burglar who broke into bar jailed for two years

by Padraig Conlon
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A drunken burglar who broke into a Dublin bar before making off with some drink and three boxes of salt sachets has been jailed for two years.

It was unclear what Michael Ward (30) was planning on doing with the salt but it was obvious there “wasn’t much sense to the theft”, Judge Melanie Greally told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.

Ward, who is homeless, pleaded guilty to burglary of Mary’s Bar on Wicklow Street on November 5 last year.

He has 145 previous convictions, including convictions for theft, burglary and criminal damage.

The court heard Ward broke into the unoccupied bar in the early hours of the morning before breaking three cash registers in an attempt to get money.

However, no cash was kept on the premises. He then made off with bottles of alcohol – including vodka, whiskey, gin and rum – and the boxes of salt.

He was recognised by gardaí in CCTV footage. He did not cover his face during the burglary and did not wear gloves. He has been in custody since the offence.

Joseph Mulrean BL, defending, said his client’s sister died seven days before the burglary, which started a downward spiral of drinking and drug-taking.

The court heard he was granted temporary bail to attend his sister’s funeral, but then did not go to the service.

Ward was kicked out of the family home he shared with his partner and four children and has been homeless since then, Mr Mulrean said.

He is making efforts to rehabilitate himself while in custody, the court heard.

Judge Greally said it was obviously an “opportunistic offence”, carried out under the influence of alcohol.

She said while the premises was unoccupied, the type of damage done “wreaks havoc on the conduct of business”.

She took into account a number of mitigating factors, including Ward’s homelessness, his addiction to drug and alcohol and his expression of remorse.

She noted he had a difficult childhood and left school at the age of 12.

Judge Greally handed down a three-year sentence but suspended the final 12 months on a number of conditions.

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