Man who used crowbar in burglary was “there for business”

Galway Daily news Rural homeowners and farmers living in fear of burglaries

A Ballybane man who used a crowbar to force entry to a house at The Orchard, Taylors Hill was, “there for business” Galway District court heard today during sentencing.

Judge Mary Fahy said the attempted burglary by Thomas Sweeney (36) was clearly planned in advance.

“It wasn’t opportunistic, he didn’t happen by. He lives on the other side of the city and he was armed with a crowbar.”

Mr. Sweeney appeared before the court on multiple charges from the past two years including the burglary at The Orchard, a robbery at Liosban Industrial Estate, and handling €5,000 worth of stolen copper cables.

He pleaded guilty to all charges.

The court heard that Mr. Sweeney has 91 previous convictions and is currently serving a 17 month sentence for other charges from Galway Circuit Court.

On November 27th last year Mr. Sweeney went to the house at The Orchard on the Kingston road, at 2pm armed with a crowbar.

He was identified by CCTV footage which showed him using the crowbar to force open a window to gain entry to the house.

However when he forced the window it triggered the house alarm and he fled the scene.

Judge Fahy identified the burglary as the most serious charge against Mr. Sweeney, pointing out his use of a crowbar in the course of the crime, and gave him a six month sentence.

Garda Conor Barrett of Galway Garda station told the court that two days later, on November 29th, Mr. Sweeney was observed loading a suspicious van at half one in the morning at Ballybane Beg.

The Defence asked Garda Barrett to confirm that Mr. Sweeney was not observed driving the van, only loading it, which he did.

He was charged with handling €5,000 of stolen cables which could not be reused as they had been cut up for packaging and transport.

For handling stolen property Mr. Sweeney was given a three month sentence, to run concurrent to his first sentence.

The final charges against Mr. Sweeney related to robbery and criminal damage to a car belonging to Mary Butler at Liosban Industrial Estate.

Ms. Butler had parked her car in Liosban Industrial Estate on October 23rd, 2016.

When she returned to her car at 1:30pm, Ms. Butler found the passenger window smashed in.

Vouchers worth €250 euro and €80 in cash had been stolen from the car.

Garda Kevin Molyneaux told the court that blood was left on the side of the car during the break in.

A sample was taken by Gardaí and sent to a lab for testing, which identified Mr. Sweeney as the culprit.

For criminal damage to Ms. Butler’s car Judge Fahy imposed a three month sentence, and gave him two months for the theft.

Both sentences will also run concurrently to the others.

Mr. Sweeney will begin serving his six months imprisonment when his current sentence is finished.