Dublin men steal visa card from ATM before blowing almost €20k in Argos

Stock image
Stock image

Two Romanian nationals, who used a rudimentary device to steal a visa card from an ATM before using it to spend €17,064.67 in various Argos shops, have been given sentences of two and two-and-a-half years.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today that Marius Radu (38) and Bogdan Plesu (31) bought mainly electrical items that they intended to sell on later.

They were identified through CCTV footage in various Argos stores after the unauthorised transactions appearing on the card owner's statement showed it had been used in the retail outlets.

Detective Garda William Kavanagh said gardai used CCTV cameras to track the thieves to a multi-storey car park and were also able to get the registration of the car they were driving. This vehicle was traced back to Plesu's girlfriend's home in Tallaght, Dublin.

The house was later searched after gardai discovered both suspects were living there and what Det Gda Kavanagh described as a "Lebanese loop" was found.

The detective said this was a rudimentary device consisting of a cut measuring tape which, if inserted into an ATM, will trap the card and keep it there. Gardai also discovered a can of spray paint which would have been used to make the device the same colour as the machine.

Det Gda Kavanagh told Ronan Kennedy BL, prosecuting, that €3,500 was found in Plesu's room in the house and a further €2,000 was found in Radu's room.

Radu and Plesu, both with an address at Killinarden Estate, Tallaght, were sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court having entered signed pleas of guilty in the District Court to theft of cash and theft of a Visa card in January 2016.

Judge Melanie Greally said Plesu had an impressive education history, while Radu had a good employment record. She said both men had made good use of their time in custody.

However, she said she was not convinced by evidence the men carried out the offence to deal with their gambling habits. "That came very late in the day and was a convenient addition," she said.

The judge sentenced Radu to two years in jail. She noted Plesu had only recently been released from custody for a previous offence when he stole the card and sentenced him to two-and-a-half years.

Sonya McLean