A DUBLIN man who stole €318,000 from a bank employee after a kidnapping bluff has been jailed for four years.
Gardaí arrested Tony Quinn (30), from Ballymun, after he had collected the bag of cash from a railway line near Broombridge railway station.
Det Sgt Robert O’Reilly said a Permanent TSB staff member had taken the money from her Phibsboro branch with permission after she had been made to believe a gang had kidnapped her partner.
He told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that two ESB employees working on railway cables in the Broombridge station area grew suspicious when they noticed a woman heave a large leather bag over a fence and phoned emergency services when they saw Quinn retrieve the item.
Quinn, Park View, Park Close, pleaded guilty to theft of €318,000 cash at Permanent TSB, Phibsboro on September 22nd, 2009. He had no previous convictions.
Judge Martin Nolan said though he accepted Quinn had rehabilitated himself, that he had come “low in the pecking order in the organisation of the offence” and would probably not reoffend, he didn’t feel the “insidious” crime could result in anything other than a custodial sentence.
Det Sgt O’Reilly had told Mr McGinn that the bank employee had arrived into her branch in a “hysterical state” asking to speak with the assistant manager so she could get €400,000 required for her partner’s safe release.
The criminals behind the operation phoned the woman while the assistant manager negotiated with the bank’s head office and told her to drop the money near Broombridge railway station.
The woman remained in the area until she saw Quinn retrieve the bag.
Det Sgt O’Reilly said Quinn had been sweating and out of breath as he ran from the scene with the bag and told arresting officers he had been forced to collect the cash over a drug debt.
He co-operated with gardaí and admitted there had been no kidnapping while he was detained in custody for one week.
Det Sgt O’Reilly agreed with Felix McEnroy SC, defending, that his client had been a “serious drug addict” at the time of the offence which was consistent with how he had appeared on arrest. He agreed that Quinn was the only person to have been prosecuted in the case to date and that gardaí were investigating threats to his family.
Mr McEnroy told Judge Nolan his client should be treated as a first-time offender because of his previous clean record. He said he had been trying to get off drugs and rehabilitate himself; and had a good work history and strong family support.