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Tallaght resident stole five iPhones from five shops in five days

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A man who took part in the robbery of five phones over a five-day period in five stores around the country will be sentenced later this month.

Viorel Rostas (28) of Swanhall, Belgard Square, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing five iPhones from five separate Three mobile phone stores around the country.

Yesterday, Detective Garda Ronan Doonan told Garett Baker BL, prosecuting, that Rostas was part of a group of four involved in the theft of phones with a combined value of more than €3,5000 between November 3 and 7, 2015.

An iPhone was stolen from both a Three store in Navan Shopping Centre and from another store in Main Street, Cavan, on November 3. The phones were worth approximately €800 and €700 respectively.

Further robberies occurred on November 4 in Letterkenny, Donegal, and on November 7 in both Tralee and Killarney in Co Kerry. Each of these phones were worth approximately €700.

On each occasion Rostas did not steal the phones himself, but acted as a distraction or impeded anyone attempting to prevent the robbery while another person stole the phone.

The robberies were carried out in daylight during business hours. Each of the stores had CCTV cameras and Rostas made no attempt to conceal his face during the robberies.

Rostas was one of four people arrested on December 1, 2015. None of the five phones were recovered by the gardaí.

Karl Monahan BL, defending, told the court that Rostas became involved with the thefts following the death of his mother in July 2015.

Rostas, who was born in Romania but has lived in Ireland for over twenty years, took a loan of €10,000 in order to arrange for numerous family members living in Ireland to return to Romania for his mother’s funeral.

Mr Monahan said that the person from whom he received the loan began to pressure him to pay the money back. Rostas agreed to take part in the robberies in exchange for some relief of his debt.

Rostas has four children and his partner is pregnant with their fifth. His partner was charged with taking part in both of the robberies committed in Kerry and received a two-year suspended sentence.

Another member of the group that carried out the robberies received a 20-month sentence. The fourth, from whom Rostas received the €10,000 loan, cannot currently be located by the gardaí.

Rostas has 71 previous convictions with the earliest dating back to February 2003. The convictions include theft, public order offences and road traffic offences.

Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case for sentencing on July 24.