Court hears how serial thief who fled to Blackpool now has 'empathy with victims' after he was robbed

By Aoife Nic Ardghail

A serial thief with 294 previous convictions took himself to Blackpool after lodging a stolen cheque worth almost €9,500 into his own bank account, a court has heard.

Albert Redmond (43), who was today jailed for three years, admitted to gardaí that he had wandered into the same Dublin city centre office building twice and on the second occasion found a chequebook.

He said he ripped a cheque from the centre of the book so it wouldn't be missed, lodged this with the help of bank staff into his own account and went to Blackpool.

Garda Philip Gleeson agreed with Marie Torrens BL, defending, that Redmond also admitted that this cash had been robbed from him while on his holiday.

Redmond, in the witness box, told his counsel that the incident gave him some empathy for the victims of his crimes.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to trespass and theft of a bank card from a staff area at Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin, and also admitted stealing €28 in cash at Spar on nearby Nassau Street, both on May 11, 2017.

He pleaded guilty to possessing stolen bank cards and a law library card at Grafton Street and South Great George's Street, Dublin last May. He further pleaded guilty to stealing €28 in cash amounts and possessing a stolen bank card at Dublin city centre locations, all on May 25, 2017.

Redmond, of Donore Terrace, Brown Street South, Dublin, also pleaded guilty to stealing €9,479 at Permanent TSB, Stephen Street, Dublin, on May 31, 2017.

His 294 previous convictions include trespass, thefts and 83 burglaries.

Gda Gleeson told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that Redmond stole the bank cards and made small transactions at numerous locations using the contactless feature.

Gardaí went to Redmond's address after viewing CCTV footage of transactions that he made using the hotel staff member's card, and Redmond admitted the offence.

He said he had been looking for “an easy few quid” after losing money at the bookies and claimed he'd sold boxes of cigarettes bought with the card.

Gda Gleeson said other colleagues stopped Redmond around the Grafton Street area on May 18 and 28 last year, and discovered he had boxes of cigarettes and stolen bank cards on both occasions.

Redmond made 33 transactions totaling €900 on a stolen card in under three hours, on May 25, 2017.

Gda Gleeson confirmed that Redmond was not on bail while committing any of the offences.

Redmond told his counsel that he had been “doing well” and stayed out of trouble from 2007 to 2016 until his sister died and gambling took over his life. He told Ms Torrens that he realised that help was there for him and couldn't imagine himself back before the courts again.

Ms Torrens submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that her client was not a violent man and didn't have the best start in life.

She asked the judge to take into consideration another court's lenient decision on an individual who was at a similar turning point in his life.

Judge Nolan noted that the judge in that decision “was a wise and kind judge” and that he wasn't sure he was “possessed of the same kindness”.

He described Redmond as “a man of great energy” who “steals and he steals and he steals”.

He imposed a three-year sentence, backdated to when Redmond entered custody in June last year.

“I'm not sure (Redmond) will ever change, but who knows,” Judge Nolan added.

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