Teen burglar caged after being caught with stolen jewellery

Teen burglar caged after being caught with stolen jewellery

A teenager who is serving a jail term for a violent burglary has been sentenced to three years after he was caught with stolen jewellery minutes after a “terrifying” raid on an elderly woman's home.

The 90-year-old victim had woken up to find a man pointing a knife at her and demanding money before he took the watch off her wrist and took the rings from her fingers.

When gardaí later found the teenager with the stolen jewellery he hid under a duvet to get away before whispering to his uncle where he had left the watch and rings.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to handling stolen jewellery on April 6, 2015.

His previous convictions include a nine year partly suspended sentence for an aggravated burglary in Wicklow during which an elderly man was falsely imprisoned and attacked.

Garda Peter O'Flynn told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting he searched the area after colleagues were alerted to the burglary and went to a halting site that was a short distance from the victim's home.

In the first bay he saw the teenager in the kitchen turning a sock inside out before a watch and rings fell out of it.

Gardaí forced entry into the bay and the teenager tried to run out the back door before he jumped onto a couch and hid under a duvet. His uncle, grandmother and cousin then arrived and the gardaí tried to convince the teenager to hand over the jewellery.

He continued to refuse to give it back before he whispered in his uncle's ear that he had dropped them in the kitchen. The jewellery was retrieved and later returned to the owner.

Gda O'Flynn agreed with Cathal McGreal BL, defending that his client hiding under a duvet and whispering to his uncle were juvenile actions that emphasised his youth.

He accepted that the boy was an orphan.

The teenager's garda case manager outlined his 10 previous convictions including the aggravated burglary of an 83-year-old man's home for which he received a nine year sentence with the final five years suspended.

The garda agreed with Mr McGreal that there were strict conditions attached to the suspended portion of the sentence to encourage the teenager's rehabilitation and to provide him with some structure and stability in his life.

He accepted that the teenager went missing for a number of months and during that time he would regularly be found sleeping on his mother's grave.

Mr McGreal told Judge Melanie Greally that his client was attacked twice in 2014 as “retaliation for offences he had carried out”.

He said the teenager was officially declared missing in 2015 and when he was found he was placed with his aunt.

Judge Greally said the jewellery had been stolen under “terrifying situations” and the teenager was found with the jewellery very shortly afterwards.

She said she must sentence him on the basis that he wasn't directly involved in the burglary.

Judge Greally accepted that the teenager had a “most disadvantageous start in life”. She said he was still a very young man with a high IQ who was not without hope, should he be provided with stability, before she imposed three years detention.