Burglar caught with priest’s ‘Lourdes’ purse and Yankees hat after break-in

Burglar caught with priest’s ‘Lourdes’ purse and Yankees hat after break-in

A burglar who was wearing a Yankees baseball cap he had stolen from a priest's house when gardaí arrested him hours after the break-in has received a suspended prison sentence.

Michael McDonald (44) also had a purse with the word ‘Lourdes’ on it when gardaí caught him. The purse had €660 in it.

McDonald of Cloonmore Park, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at The Parochial House, Cherry Orchard Avenue, Cherry Orchard, on August 15, 2013.

Judge Patricia Ryan suspended a prison term of one year for a period of three years on condition that McDonald keep the peace and continue to undergo drug treatment with the Probation Services.

She had previously ordered him to engage with victim empathy programmes.

Fr Sean Duggan had spent the evening in Dublin city centre and arrived home to find the front door of the house unlocked and a window in the side room shattered. He saw the burglar coming down the stairs and started to ring 999.

He told McDonald he had called gardaí and the intruder told him he didn’t want any trouble. McDonald left through the broken window.

The priest found all the rooms in the house had been ransacked and the items taken included a Lourdes purse with cash in it and a Yankees cap.

He gave gardaí a description of the burglar, who he had clearly seen. They arrested him shortly after and he was wearing the Yankees cap and had the stolen purse on him.

McDonald admitted everything to gardaí that night and apologised to the priest. He has 27 previous convictions and was sentenced to three years for robbery and assault offences in 2002.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client was born into the Travelling community and exposed to violence and alcohol and abuse from a very young age.

He said the father of five has a son who has managed to break out of this cycle and is now a professional footballer.

- by Declan Brennan