One man’s attempt to sell his phone on Done Deal turned into a violent robbery by a group of people.
Joe Mwangi (22) of Cluain Riocaird, Ballinfoyle pleaded guilty to robbery and attempted theft at Galway Circuit Court.
The court heard that on June 7 of 2016 a German man had arranged to meet with two people to sell his iPhone he’d advertised on Done Deal.
The victim was at G&L Centra in Newcastle, but said that he had a bad feeling when he met Mwangi and another man, and didn’t believe they had money to buy his phone.
He went in to the store to wait for them to leave, but Sgt Tom Doyle said that cctv footage showed four men waiting at the nearby Topaz.
When the victim left the store two men approached from behind, knocking him to the ground. While he was on the ground he said that the four men continued to attack him.
The men stole his phone, valued at €600, as well as his wallet which had numerous cards and roughly €40 in cash.
Sgt Doyle said that multiple unsuccessful attempts were made to use the stolen debit cards, and this was how Mwangi was identified.
Security footage was taken from Joyce’s Supermarket in Knocknacarra which showed Mwangi attempting to use the card at an atm.
Mwangi told the court through his barrister that he had been in the area coincidentally, and happened to see the victim being attacked by two men.
He claimed that he saw several items fall to the ground during this attack and admitted to taking them and later attempting to use the cards.
The victim who is currently working in Prague, was not in court to give a statement about this robbery.
Gardaí said that the incident left him shaken, but that he fortunately did not require medical attention.
One other person was identified by cctv in this robbery and has already been convicted.
Mwangi, who has 13 previous convictions, has been in custody for this offence since pleading guilty on May 7 at the Circuit Court.
A probation report for Mr Mwangi was not favourable, saying that he was at a high risk of re-offending and lacked empathy for his victim.
Judge Rory McCabe said “This was obviously a premeditated plan to rob and, if necessary, to use violence to achieve it.”
He added that the fact that it was four people attacking one man was an aggravating factor, but credited the guilty plea that spared the victim the possibility of having to come back from Prague to testify.
In an apology read to the court Mwangi said that he was deeply sorry for his “foolish, thoughtless actions” and would like the chance to reimburse his victim.
Judge McCabe said that “only he knows why he’s sorry” questioning whether it was real remorse or sorrow that he was facing a prison sentence for robbery.
For the robbery Judge McCabe imposed a four year prison sentence, and added two years for the attempted theft to run concurrently.
The final year of the sentence was suspended for five years.