Dublin man who ’could not stop himself’ is jailed after series of burglaries at city centre hotels

By Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man who “cannot stop himself” has been jailed for two and a half years for stealing from a series of city centre hotels.

Jason Whelan (28) of Woodhazel Terrace, Ballymun, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to trespass and theft of a receptionist’s phone at the Clifton Court Hotel, Eden Quay on May 4, 2017.

He also pleaded guilty to trespass and theft of seven bottles of spirits worth €225 from The Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street Upper on June 6, this year.

Whelan further pleaded guilty to burglary of €257 worth of spirits at the Clifton Court Hotel, Eden Quay on June 12, last.

Garda Michelle Fitzpatrick told the court that Whelan took spirits valued at €43 from The Grand Central pub also on June 12, after he had left ten bottles in a bag behind a function room door.

Whelan has 28 previous convictions for burglaries, ten for thefts and a mixture of handling stolen property offences.

Judge Martin Nolan commented that Whelan “cannot stop himself from committing burglaries”.

Gda Fitzpatrick said she identified Whelan and his brother, Stephen, as the drinks raiders on CCTV at The Grand Central and Clifton Court Hotel on June 12.

Stephen Whelan (34) of Shangan Gardens, Ballymun pleaded guilty to these offences and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Gda Fitzpatrick told John Byrne BL, prosecuting, that the receptionist on the May 4 burglary came back from a break to find Jason Whelan leaning over her desk.

She noted when she spoke to him that he could barely keep his eyes open and realised when he left that her phone was missing.

When she confronted him outside the hotel, she saw her Samsung Galaxy poking out of his shorts pocket.

She took the phone out of his pocket when Whelan told her she could search him. She pointed out CCTV in the area when he became irritated.

Gda Fitzpatrick said the receptionist didn’t report the incident to gardai as she had retrieved her phone from Whelan.

The garda told Mr Byrne that Whelan claimed he was lost and looking for toilets when a member of housekeeping encountered him near staff changing rooms at The Gresham Hotel.

The duty manager became suspicious after hearing about this encounter, checked the hotel’s CCTV and saw footage of Whelan breaking into the store room. Whelan made off with €225 of spirits.

On June 12, the bar manager at Clifton Court Hotel checked CCTV after she noticed a door unbolted on the premises. In the footage, Jason and Stephen Whelan were spotted loading ten bottles of spirits into a bag.

Gda Fitzpatrick said she arrested the brothers at Connolly Station later that month.

She agreed with Sandra Frayne BL, defending, that there had been no violence used during any of the incidents.

Ms Frayne submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that her client had an “appalling background” with drug addicted parents, little education and a history of care homes.

She said Whelan now wished to break the cycle. She asked the judge to take into consideration her client’s early guilty plea.

Judge Nolan accepted that Whelan had ambitions to reform but said he didn’t think the father-of-two was capable of reform.

He jailed Whelan for two and a half years with credit given for any time he has spent in custody on the matter.

KEYWORDS: Court, Burglary


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