By Fiona Ferguson
A robber who grabbed two trays of Cartier watches worth over €120,000 in an opportunistic theft has been jailed for two years.
Jason Finlay (51) pushed his way into the city centre jewellers after a diamond seller had been “buzzed in” through the security doors. He passed the trays to a second man holding the door open and they fled the shop after the robbery, which lasted just 20 seconds.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that a “good Samaritan” pursued the pair and, despite a kick from Finlay, was able to tackle him and hold him until gardai arrived.
Two trays containing 22 watches were recovered under a bush in St Stephen’s Green and another watch was found in a box on Finlay. One final watch valued at €4,900 was not recovered.
Garda Jordan Kennedy said Finlay cooperated with gardai and told them he had a drug debt.
Finlay, formerly of Loretto Hall, St Stephens Green, Dublin 2 pleaded guilty to the robbery of 24 Cartier watches at Dawson Jewellers, Dawson Street on November 15, 2022. He has 83 previous convictions.
Passing sentenceon Monday, Judge Elva Duffy said Finlay had “sussed out” the shop earlier in the day and sought to see a watch. He had returned later with a second man and took advantage of a moment of distraction to gain entry.
He had snatched two trays from a window close to the door, as the second man held the door open.
Judge Duffy said there had been a certain level of planning as the men were covered up, but the court accepted Finlay was drunk and made a foolish decision to engage in the robbery.
She said the court accepted he caused a certain level of terror, but there were no victim impact reports and it appeared people wished to put it behind them. She noted he had apologised a number of times. She took into account he was taking significant steps to address his addiction issues.
Judge Duffy imposed a sentence of three years and suspended the final 12 months. She told Finlay he was being afforded a significant opportunity.
Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, said Finlay had been struggling with drug addiction at the time and had run up a large debt which was weighing on his mind. He saw an opportunity and took it.
Mr Le Vert said Finlay had been homeless for about 14 years and, tragically, had just received the keys to a flat from the Fr McVerry Trust. He had the keys with him when he committed the robbery.
He said that due to Finlay’s addiction the reality of keeping the flat may not have been sustainable.
He said since the offence, Finlay has done very well in custody and is now drug free on methadone.
He asked the court to take into account his guilty plea, full admissions and personal circumstances. He said Finlay is apologetic for what he did.
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