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The good thief Ballycullen burglar with 219 convictions says she 'prays for her victims every night'

Margaret Cawley was jailed for 14 months for burgling restaurant staff rooms after pretending she wanted to use the toilets


Margaret Cawley

Margaret Cawley

Margaret Cawley

A serial burglar who stole from businesses during the pandemic claimed that she was a "deeply religious woman" who "prayed for her victims every night".

Margaret Cawley (31) was jailed for 14 months after a court heard she burgled restaurant staff rooms after pretending she wanted to use the toilets.

Cawley, of Daletree Place, Ballycullen, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary.

Dublin District Court heard she went to Monto Cafe, Camden Street Upper, on August 22 last year on the pretence of using the bathroom.

She slipped into an unlocked office and took €1,500 from a jacket hanging on the door.

She was challenged by staff, who tried to hold on to her. She fled but left her jacket and phone behind.

Cawley again used the pretence of needing to use a toilet at Musashi restaurant, Lower Mayor Street, last August 26. She took €650 from a wallet in a jacket on the staff coat rack.

At Tesco in Sandymount last October 9, Cawley was escorted out after being found in offices going through staff handbags, pockets and lockers. €20 was taken from a purse.

The accused had 219 previous convictions, including 69 for theft.

A victim impact statement was handed in to court.

Defence solicitor Mervyn Harnett said at the time of the offences, Cawley was homeless and suffering from a heavy drug addiction.

Regardless of her needs, she accepted her actions were inappropriate and wrong.

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Cawley was a "deeply religious" woman and she "prays for herself and her victims every night", Mr Harnett said.

The accused was already in custody when she appeared in court and was finding her time in prison very difficult.

Cawley still had "a long way to go" in dealing with her addiction and was only now addressing her mental health issues. Mr Harnett asked Judge Bryan Smyth not to further incarcerate his client.

Judge Smyth said none of the money was recovered and one restaurant owner had found it difficult to have €1,500 stolen at the time.

He noted the situation that had been faced by restaurants during the pandemic.

He said he had no alternative but to impose a prison sentence.

He handed down two six-month sentences and one two-month term, all consecutive.

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