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Teen was allegedly part of gang who knocked down wall to remove safe

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teen was allegedly part of gang who knocked down wall to remove safe

A 15-YEAR-OLD Dublin boy has been sent forward for trial accused of being in a demolition gang of burglars who allegedly knocked down an interior house wall in a bid to remove a safe and steal jewellery.

Judge John O'Connor was told at the Dublin Children's Court that the case goes “beyond a normal ransacking” and other members of the boy's family were believed to have been involved in the raid.

The schoolboy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, is charged with burglary at an address at The Park, Highlands, in Drogheda, on October 31 last.

He also faces a second charge for attempted burglary at another address on the same date, when he was aged 14.

The DPP had recommended that despite his young age, the boy should be tried in the circuit court, which can impose lengthier sentences, and after hearing an outline of the allegations, Judge John O'Connor refused jurisdiction.

The boy was served with a book of evidence today before Judge O'Connor made an order sending him forward for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he will face his next hearing on October 23rd. The boy, who has not yet entered a plea, was accompanied to court by his mother, and was remanded on bail pending trial.

In an outline of the allegations, Detective Mary Moore, of the Garda Drug and Organised Crime Bureau, had told the Children's Court that confidential information was received and an operation was put in place. A car which had changed its registration plates was observed acting suspiciously in a Drogheda housing estate.

It was alleged the gang smashed their way into a house via a patio door. There was a safe situated under the stairs and the burglars knocked down a wall to get to it, Det Gda Moore said.

The safe containing approximately €1,049 worth of jewellery was taken and there was some €4,500 worth of damages.

It was alleged the gang approached another house nearby but the woman living there noticed them and they left. Det Garda Moore said the woman was left “quite distressed”; she finds it difficult to go out at and now locks all the internal doors in her home.

The raiders' car was stopped by gardai and the three people in it, including the boy, were wearing dark clothes and black balaclavas, and there were tools including screwdrivers and nail bars, Det Garda Moore alleged.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone asked the court to retain jurisdiction and to note the boy was aged 14 at the time of the alleged incidents.

He said the teenager had never been in trouble before and is in school but struggles with literacy skills, and his mother believes he may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Judge O'Connor said that it was not alleged the offence was a random burglary, it was pre-planned, and he refused jurisdiction.