Detention for 16-year old caught with coins after Limerick church robbery

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The poor box was stolen from Rathkeale Church

A 16-YEAR old boy, described by his mother as being out of control, was refused bail in court after he was seen running from a church where the poor box was stolen one hour after being arrested on another matter.

Limerick District Court heard the boy – who cannot be named on account of his age – is also facing a charge of stealing and causing criminal damage in another church. The court also heard that he has broken bail conditions numerous times.

Judge Marie Keane heard evidence from Detective Sergeant Malcolm Reidy of Newcastle West Garda station that they had arrested the boy on Wednesday November 23 because he had breached a condition of previous bail by coming to the town of Rathkeale, a location the court had ordered him to stay out of.

Det Sgt Reidy told the court that when the boy was leaving the station he said: “I don’t give a f**k about the guards. No court will keep me out of Rathkeale”.

The witness said that an hour later it was reported that the charity box had been stolen from the church in Rathkeale.

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“The caretaker saw four youths running away and he kept eyes on them. When the Gardaí arrived, they went to a nearby portaloo … the door opened and three of the youths made good their escape but Master H was apprehended.”

“He was found in possession of €10 in coins. While the money involved is a small amount, it is an aggravating factor that this was a mean theft,” he said.

The court heard that Master H is already on bail on charges associated with the theft of an item and €1,000 of criminal damage at the church in Askeaton.

Det Sgt Reidy said there are numerous allegations of his having breached bail on previous occasions. He objected to bail as he feared the boy would commit further offences if freed.

The court heard that his mother told Gardaí that she “cannot control him”.

The accused’s solicitor, John Herbert, said that the boy “was in the company of others” when he was arrested, adding that “there was nothing linking him directly with the theft”.

Mr Herbert pointed out that the teenager would spend a considerable time on remand as “the matter will have to go to the Director of Public Prosecutions for directions”.

“That takes a considerable time and, because he is a juvenile, it will also have to go through the national juvenile office.”

But Judge Keane refused bail. She said he had failed to appear for a court hearing in October “so I find it difficult to understand why he’s seeking bail now?”

She committed him to Oberstown detention centre to appear in court again on November 29.