Man stole 67 laptops worth nearly €50k from Dublin tech company using false ID

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An English man who stole 67 laptops after using a false identification to order the computers from a Dublin technology company has been sentenced to two and half years in prison.

Mark Barber (49) first contacted the company in October 2014 enquiring about the cost of 98 laptops. He later emailed a purchase order for the computers, based on a quoted price of €675 but accepted a partial shipment of 67 laptops when he was informed that was all there were in stock.

Barber of Carlton Road North, Weymouth, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft on October 24, 2010. He has 21 previous convictions from England and has never come to garda attention in Ireland.

Detective Garda Kelly Dutton told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting that the loss to the company was just over €45,000.

The laptops were successfully delivered to an address provided by Barber after he had rented out the premises on a three-month lease using the false name.

Judge Pauline Codd said there had been "quite a degree of planning involved in the offence" and noted that the company were at a substantial loss.

She sentenced Barber to two-and-a-half years in prison but suspended the final two years on strict conditions.

Det Gda Dutton said the supplier of the laptops contacted the technology company to warn them that they had stopped a similar order because it had been fraudulent.

The sales representative who processed the order then checked out the delivery address and noted it was a unit to let. He contacted the agent responsible for the letting and was informed that it had been leased on a short-term contract.

This agent was contacted by Barber on November 24, 2014, who said he couldn't get into the premises and the man arranged to meet him there. He made gardai aware of the meeting and Barber was arrested later that same day.

Barber co-operated with the garda investigation and said he had been paid £1,000 to take delivery of the laptops and arrange for their onward shipment. He said he had been asked to do this by a Nigerian man in London who he knew as "Henry".

Carol Doherty BL, defending told Judge Codd that her client was a heroin addict and needed money to feed his habit when he agreed to take delivery of the laptops.

She said he acted as carer for his ill-mother and asked the court to accept that he had not come to attention of the police in Ireland or England since his arrest.

Sonya McLean