Thief with 111 convictions used wire and glue to steal from church donations box

Mark Pierce (41) also stole cash from charity boxes in supermarkets, the court heard.

Stock image© Getty Images/iStockphoto

Andrew Phelan

A thief who used a metal wire and glue to “fish” envelopes out of a church donation box has been jailed for a year.

Serial offender Mark Pierce (41), who had 111 previous convictions, also stole cash from charity boxes in supermarkets.

He was sentenced by Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court.

Pierce, a father-of-four with an address at a city homeless hostel, pleaded guilty to theft and use of an implement in the course of a theft.

Garda Sergeant Michelle Lynch said that on February 6, 2021 Pierce stole from the donation box at Ballyroan Church, Rathfarnham.

“On CCTV, the accused was seen fishing out envelopes from the donation box with a metal wire and glue,” Sgt Lynch said. Three sealed envelopes of undetermined value were taken in that theft.

A garda saw him acting suspiciously at Dominick Street Upper in the city centre on February 4 this year. He threw away a metal wire with a sticky substance and tried to flee. He resisted arrest when gardaí caught him after a chase.

Pierce was abusive to gardaí when he was seen coming out of St Saviour’s Church on Dominick Street drinking a can of beer on May 8 this year.

Churchgoers were entering and leaving and he would not desist from his behaviour.

Pierce took €58 in coins from a Temple Street charity box at Tesco, The Square Shopping Centre, Tallaght on February 1, 2021.

On October 22 last year, Pierce went to a charity box at Tesco, Upper Rathmines Road and emptied the money into his hat before leaving.

When arrested, he had €20 taken from the poor box and two Canadian $50 notes. The €20 was returned but he could provide no explanation for having the Canadian money.

The accused was arrested for trespassing at an apartment complex car park on Parnell Street on October 18, 2022.

He was seen with drug paraphernalia and appeared to be smoking drugs.

Pierce had 111 previous convictions for offences including theft.

The accused had a drug issue for most of his adult life, his solicitor Holly Laher said.

He was in a desperate situation, sleeping rough and stealing to feed his drug habit.

He had dealt with his issues “head on,” was now drug-free and on a methadone programme, Ms Laher said.

Judge Smyth said a prison sentence was warranted. He jailed Pierce for six months for use of an implement in a theft, with a consecutive six months for failing to appear in court.

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