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Reality choc Thief caught with 59 stolen chocolate bars gets six-month suspended sentence

Gary Lawrence (40) was searched by undercover gardaí who saw him acting suspiciously at a Luas stop

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Gary Lawrence was ‘heavily immersed’ in a drug problem at time

Gary Lawrence was ‘heavily immersed’ in a drug problem at time

Gary Lawrence was ‘heavily immersed’ in a drug problem at time

A shoplifter caught with a bag of 59 stolen chocolate bars was heavily "immersed" in a drug addiction at the time.

Gary Lawrence (40) was searched by undercover gardaí who saw him acting suspiciously at a Luas stop, and admitted he had stolen the chocolates from a shop.

Lawrence, with an address at a city hostel, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property, as well as separate charges of stealing hundreds of euro worth of perfume and aftershave.

Judge Bryan Smyth gave him a six-month suspended sentence.

Dublin District Court heard gardaí stopped Lawrence at Abbey Street Upper in the north city centre at 9.30am on September 15, 2018.

When searched, he had a bag containing 59 bars of Reese's chocolates.

He said he had stolen them from a shop in Temple Bar, was arrested and the chocolate was recovered in a saleable condition.

Separately, he stole two bottles of perfume worth €230 at Arnotts on Henry Street on December 26, 2018. He had 62 previous convictions.

At the time, Lawrence was so "heavily immersed" in a drug problem that he had little recollection of the incidents, his solicitor said.

The accused has since "got his act together," was not using substances and was near the top of the housing waiting list. 

From a "catastrophic" situation of homelessness and heavy drug use, Lawrence had "turned things around" and come to court to "face the music", his council added.

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