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Crash machine Irish ATM raider avoids jail over 'Mission Impossible' style attacks in Australia

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Stephen Dunne

Stephen Dunne

7 News Australia

Stephen Dunne

AN Irish telecoms engineer who carried out “Mission Impossible-style” bank raids on cash machines has avoided a lengthy prison sentence in Australia. 

Stephen Dunne (41), originally from Blanchardstown, west Dublin, pleaded guilty to breaking into shopping centres and trying to carve open ATMs with an angle grinder in Brisbane.

An Australian court heard how Dunne had initially become involved in the crime spree in 2017, when he started acting as a low level lookout, for another gang of career criminals.

However, as soon as he realised he could make more money on his own, he went rogue and started out on his own crime spree.

Dunne, a self-confessed cocaine addict, broke into shopping centres by cutting through the roof with power tools before attacking the cash machines with an angle grinder.

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Angle grinder (stock)

Angle grinder (stock)

Angle grinder (stock)

He was eventually arrested in 2018 by local police as a result of Operation Papa Dodgeball, which was set up to specifically investigate a spate of linked break-ins.

Authorities believe that the attacks by Dunne and his cohorts have caused up to half a million dollars in losses and damage.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis told the sentence hearing: “It’s Mission Impossible-style, making his way into bunkers, trying to cut it open with grinders.

“It was organised, there was planning and deliberation.”

Dunne pleaded guilty earlier this year to six counts of enter premises and commit indictable offence by breaking in.

Defence lawyer Angus Edwards said Dunne, from Dublin, led a good life prior to his offending and had worked as a telco rigger across Ireland, Scotland, Nicaragua and Australia.

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Cash seized by police in Australia

Cash seized by police in Australia

7 News Australia

Cash seized by police in Australia

Mr Edwards told the court his client fell into drugs and alcohol abuse and became involved with “criminally minded men”.

He said Dunne now wanted to be a better father to his children and that the use of cocaine was “largely the catalyst” for the offending.

Chief judge Brian Devereaux sentenced Dunne to five years’ jail but wholly suspended his term.

More than 300 days spent in pre-sentence custody was declared as time served.

Dunne also received a three-year probation order.

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