Jewel thief given 48 hours to leave the country or face prison

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Jewel thief: Jan Grabowski
Jewel thief: Jan Grabowski

A CASH-strapped cafe owner, who stole almost €20,000 worth of jewellery during a distraction theft from a Dublin antiques shop, has been given 48 hours to leave the country or he will be jailed.

Jan Grabowski, 56, from Poland but who had recently been living out of a Dublin city-centre hotel, pleaded guilty to stealing one set of diamond and pearl ear-rings and a broach from Courtville Antiques in the Powerscourt Shopping Centre. 

Det Garda Des Rogers told Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court that Grabowski went into the shop and proposed to make some purchases.

When the shop assistant displayed some items to him, he distracted her and took the broach and ear-rings but he was later arrested on Grafton Street after gardai viewed CCTV footage.

Det Gda Rogers said Grabowski did not have the stolen jewellery on him when he was stopped but was co-operative and assisted in retrieving them, and they were in a saleable condition.

Judge Walsh said it had all the hallmarks of being well thought out and well planned. He said he had no doubt Grabowski, “ entered shop with sole intention of stealing items from the shop and had a well thought out plan.”

He said that fortunately for owner the items were recovered and the gardai must be complemented for their excellent attention to the case and having it prosecuted without any delay.

He imposed a €500 fine and a six-month sentence which he said will be suspended if Grabowski leaves Ireland within two days.

Defence solicitor Phillip Hannon asked the court to note that Grabowski suffered from depression and there had been several bereavements in his family. He said the 56-year-old father-of-two worked in the building trade most his life but then tried to establish a cafe, however, it folded six months ago.  

He had to repay money he borrowed to set up the cafe but had not been able to find any suitable employment and came to Dublin where he had a son living. 

The lawyer said Grabowski thought the offence “would be the answer to his problems” but is now remorseful and plans to return to Poland.

Judge Walsh noted he pleaded guilty, which saved time and costs, and he gave him credit for his admission and co-operation. He also noted the man had been in custody on remand since last Saturday.