Three men charged with the theft of over €2,000 worth of alcohol from a Longford supermarket have been warned to return home to Romania and not return to Ireland for five years following last week’s sitting of Longford District Court.
Mihai Apostol (23), Alexandru Facaeru (38) and Andrei Stoica (23), all of 9 Church Avenue, Blanchards- town, Co Dublin, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes last Tuesday when they entered guilty pleas to the offence of theft of alcohol from a local supermarket.
Mr Facaeru and Mr Apostol were also facing additional theft allegations after being charged by Garda Keith O’Brien last week.
“It is their intention to leave the country but they haven’t been able to organise it because they’ve been in custody and there’s a language barrier,” said solicitor, Aileen Mollahan.
“I could deal with it by way of a suspended sentence on the condition that they obtain flight tickets within seven days to Romania, commit no further offence within those seven days and don’t come back to Ireland for a period of five years,” said Judge Hughes before asking to hear the facts.
Giving details of the existing charges, court presenter, Sgt Enda Daly, explained that, on June 22 at 12.55pm, gardaí received a call from security at a Longford supermarket, who said three males had attempted to leave the store with a trolley of alcohol and household items valued at €1,300. They were apprehended while leaving the store.
Giving details of further offences which occurred earlier that same day, Gda Keith O’Brien told the court, “on June 22, Mihai Apostol filled a rucksack with four bottles of grey goose vodka and four bottles of expensive champagne valued at €300, which were not recovered.
“He and Alexandru Facaeru returned with an empty bag and took five bottles of brandy,” he added.
“Was it expensive brandy?” asked Judge Hughes.
“Well it was Hennessey so not top shelf stuff but you’d know about it if you drank it,” Gda O’Brien replied.
“All of that was not recovered. Then they went up and committed the other offence.”
“Why did they decide to come to Longford, having lived in Blanchardstown, and within one day steal about €2,000 worth of alcohol?” asked Judge Hughes.
The three men communicated via a Romanian interpreter who told the court, “we are sorry and we’re going to leave Ireland”.
“What happened to the vodka and the brandy? Did you sell it?” asked Judge Hughes.
“We left them somewhere,” the interpreter communicated.
“If I remand two in custody and release one - they can decide which one - he can go and find it. Do they agree?” asked Judge Hughes.
The interpreter discussed this with the three men who replied “yes”.
“So you do know where the alcohol is,” said Judge Hughes.
“If not, we will pay,” the men replied.
“Have you money?” asked a sceptical Judge Hughes.
“We’ll borrow some money. If you release us we will go home and send money,” said the men via their interpreter.
“No,” said Judge Hughes. “I’ll release one man and the other two will be remanded in custody. The one can go and get the money - whatever the cost of the missing alcohol is. How much is it?”
Gda O’Brien explained that the alcohol stolen from Tesco was recovered by security as the men were leaving the store but the vodka, champagne and brandy was not recovered. The stolen items were valued at €645.
As the men discussed the procurement of this figure with their interpreter and solicitor, Judge Hughes said “change that €645 to €1,000 - for each of you”.
“No, they don’t have that much,” said the interpreter.
“If they stay in custody, it costs money. How much will they give me?” asked Judge Hughes.
“€1,000 for the three of them,” the interpreter replied.
“No,” said Judge Hughes, simply.
“€500 each,” said the interpreter.
“Okay. I’ll give you seven days to get the money,” said Judge Hughes. When the interpreter told him they could try to have it sooner than a week later, he added, “If he can get to the Western Union by 2pm I can release them today.”
The interpreter, however, explained that they would not have the money that day.
“Okay. Thursday by video link from Castlerea,” said Judge Hughes, “I’ll give them a suspended sentence on the condition they get a flight within seven days, commit no further offence for seven days and not come back for five years.
“It’s costing a lot of money. You better have the money on Thursday,” he concluded.
Mihai Apostol and Alexandru Facaeru were remanded in custody to July 8, while Andrei Stoica was remanded on bail to get €1,500 cash by July 8.
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