Burglar caused almost €90,000 of damage to offices in “orgy” of crimes

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Galway Daily courts Man jailed for thefts and burglary

A burglar caused €90,000 worth of damages to an office complex in the city in what the judge described as an “orgy of burglary, theft, and criminal damage”.

Joseph O’Shaughnessy (32), of Cherry Orchard Drive, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10, was sentenced to six years in prison at Galway Circuit Court for a spree of burglary, criminal damage and theft offences which took place over a single night in June.

He had previously pleaded guilty to a total of eight offences, three burglary charges, three of criminal damage, and two of theft.

Garda Pat Foley told the Circuit Court that shortly before 1am on June 7 of this year, he and Garda Walsh responded to an alarm at Woodies on the Headford road.

After being let inside by a manager who arrived at the scene they saw O’Shaughnessy running through the store, before he climbed a shelf and went through a broken window into the store’s horticulture section.

There the gardaí found him hiding under a table, and a search of his person turned up two mobiles, €90 in coins, and a further €120 in notes which were confirmed not to be from Woodies.

Subsequently the officers found a back door to the adjacent Gray Office Park had been forced open, and a number of the businesses inside had been burgled.

Inside the office complex the gardaí found extensive damage to multiple businesses’ offices, “he basically smashed his way through the office park” Garda Foley said.

He cut through router wires, destroyed servers, and kicked through plate glass windows and doors, causing a total of €89,450 in damage.

Garda Walsh brought O’Shaughnessy back to Galway Garda Station, while Garda Foley stayed at the scene to continue a search of the area.

In shopping bags to the rear of the office park he found three stolen laptops. It also emerged that O’Shaugnessy had stolen from Specsavers, Elvery’s, and Tesco from Galway Shopping Centre across the road.

The money found on his person was from Specsavers, while multiple items of clothing were stolen from Elvery’s, and two bottles of gin were taken from Tesco.

At the station Garda Foley said that O’Shaugnessy was partially cooperative, admitting to the shopping centre thefts, and breaking into Woodies, but wouldn’t admit to the burglaries and damages at Gray Office Park.

Garda Foley said that the crime spree began on the evening of June 6, after O’Shaugnessy arrived in Galway from Dublin, with the thefts from Galway Shopping Centre.

Late at night he spent roughly two hours inside Gray Office Park, before entering into Woodies through a hole in their gate, where he was later arrested at roughly 1:15am.

The Circuit Court heard that not only does O’Shaugnessy have 31 previous convictions, he was the subject of two different suspended sentences when these Galway offences took place.

Mr O’Shaughnessy’s barrister said that he has no real explanation for his actions other than to say he had been drinking on the bus up from Dublin that day.

He said that his client would never be in a position to repay the damages he caused, but added that he pleaded guilty at an early opportunity, avoiding a costly trial.

Judge Rory McCabe said he had no doubt that this was a premeditated crime spree, noting that O’Shaughnessy had no reason to be in Galway.

The judge said that he has “all the hallmarks of an entrenched criminal”, noting that he has an “extremely poor” record of engagement with probation services and a high risk of re-offending.

The judge imposed a prison sentence of six years for the burglary offences, along with another six years for the criminal damage and 12 months for the thefts, all of which will be served concurrently.