Main given jail sentence for stealing handbags from city bars

Galway Daily court Man gets jail sentence for stealing handbags

A man who stole two women’s handbags and their contents from different bars in Galway City has been given a four month prison sentence.

Michael French (25), of the COPE Day Centre, pleaded guilty at Galway District Court this week to stealing two handbags during a night last November.

The court that on November 12 of last year Garda Jonathan Durkin received a report from a woman that her handbag had been stolen while she was at the Dew Drop Inn on Mainguard Street.

The bag’s contents were worth approximately €145 according to gardaí, and included her phone and home keys.

Later than same night Garda Durkin got another report of another handbag stolen, along with €20 worth of contents, from the Blue Note bar in the West End.

CCTV footage viewed by gardaí at both bars identified Mr Fench as the person responsible, and he was arrested shortly afterwards.

Neither of the handbags or any of their contents other than the keys were recovered the District Court heard.

Mr French also pleaded guilty to a Section 9 firearms charge over a chisel which he had on him when arrested.

Representing Mr French solicitor John Martin said that his client is homeless and had the chisel to open doors so he could squat in vacant premises.

Mr Martin said that Michael French has a history of psychiatric issues, and that when he stopped taking his medication it led to a “spiral of homelessness and crime.”

He was already serving a four month sentence on older charges at the time of this hearing, and Mr Martin said that his conditions has improved while linking with psychiatric services at Castlerea.

For the theft from the Dew Drop Inn, Judge Mary Fahy imposed a four month prison sentence, with a four month consecutive sentence for the Blue Note offence.

The consecutive sentence was suspended for two years on the condition that Mr French be of good behaviour and stay away from the Blue Note.

A three month concurrent sentence was imposed for the Section 9 possession of articles charge.

Judge Fahy agrees to fix recognisance in event of an appeal with a surety of €1,400.