A repeat offender who put card-trapping devices in ATMs to steal people's bank cards over six years ago has been given a fully suspended sentence.
Marius Radu (44) was previously jailed for two years for stealing a visa card and spending over €17,000 in various Argos shops in 2016. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to similar ATM card trapping offences which he carried out around the same time.
Judge Martin Nolan said if these offences had also been before the sentencing judge at the time, his sentence would probably not have been much longer.
Sentencing Radu on Tuesday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Nolan said that for some reason this matter had not come before the court until now and that it would be unjust to impose a further sentence on Radu. He handed down a sentence of two years which he suspended in full.
Radu, formerly of Killinarden, Tallaght, Dublin, but currently living in Slough, UK, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage to ATMs and six counts of theft at various addresses in Dublin on dates between January 27th-February 3rd, 2016.
Garda Derek Gibney told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that early in the morning on January 27th, 2016, a man went to his local ATM on Mobhi Road in Glasnevin to take out cash. The machine proceeded to swallow his card and he left without his cash. He reported seeing nobody suspicious in the area at the time.
The man rang the bank later that afternoon looking for his card back and was advised to report it missing. Later that day, it emerged a number of withdrawals had been carried out on the card, with €500, €100 and €40 taken out of his account from a nearby ATM in Phibsborough.
CCTV footage from the bank showed Radu arriving at the ATM shortly before the man tried to take out the money and inserting a card trapping device. He returned when the man had left and retrieved the card which was stuck in the machine.
Radu then went to Phibsborough and took out the cash and also used to card to spend €110 and €110.50 in Tesco in Tallaght, the court heard.
Garda Gibney told the court a similar incident occurred at another ATM in which Radu and another man were spotted inserting a similar device. However, this attempt was unsuccessful.
The damage to both ATMs cost €220 and €1708 respectively, the court heard.
Radu was recognised from the CCTV footage and was arrested in July 2016, making admissions to gardaí, the court heard.
In October 2016, he was sentenced to two years for similar offences which also occurred in January 2016.
On that occasion, Radu and a co-accused stole a visa card from an ATM and used it to spend over €17,000 in various Argos shops.
The court heard that upon his release, Radu, who is originally from Romania, moved to the UK and had only travelled back to Ireland for the sentencing hearing. He is now studying and working as a driver, defence counsel said.