A man who appeared before Longford District Court charged in connection with the theft of numerous copper cylinders and piping from homes across Longford and Leitrim earlier this year was sentenced to 10 months in prison following a hearing into the matter.
Darius Sarapajevas (47) of no fixed abode appeared before Judge Fiona Lydon charged with stealing a copper fireplace surround from a property in Drumsna, Co Leitrim on January 8, last valued at €150.
He was also further charged with stealing a copper cylinder from 18 Beechwood Park, Granard on February 21, 2018 valued at €160; stealing copper fixtures from an apartment at Greville Court, Granard valued at €150 on dates between December 15, 2017 and January 7, 2018; stealing a copper cylinder from a vacant house at Beechwood Park, Granard valued at €120 on dates between January 11, 2018 and February 9, 2018; trespass at a property in Moyne on dates between January 22 and January 25, 2018; trespass at a vacant house at Aughnacliffe on February 22, 2018; the theft of a copper cylinder (value €120) from one property and trespass at a second in Gleann Riada, Longford on dates between January 8 and January 15, 2018; stealing wiring from Longford Medical Park and causing criminal damage at the property in January 2018; causing €50 worth of damage to a derelict property in Newtownforbes on dates between February 16 and February 18, 2018; stealing a copper cylinder from a house in Killashee; stealing copper piping from a vacant property at Clonturk, Longford on dates between February 21 and February 28, 2018 valued at €100; the theft of a copper cylinder from a house at Aughaboy, Killoe valued at €150 on dates between January 27 and February 7 last; the theft of a copper cylinder from a house in Killoe on dates between February 16 and February 18, 2018; the theft of a copper cylinder from a home at Knockloughlin, Longford on dates between February 2 and February 11, 2018; the theft of two copper cylinders from two properties at Mostrim Oaks, Edgeworthstown on January 4, 2018 and the theft of a copper cylinder from a property at Knockloughlin, Longford on dates between January 1 and February 28, 2018.
Sergeant Tom Quinn of Edgeworthstown Garda Station told the court that one of the break-ins carried out by the defendant had been at the home of an elderly man who was in hospital at the time.
This man, the Garda added, did not return to the house in the aftermath of the burglary and now resides in a nursing home.
The court also heard that the defendant had 39 previous convictions, 38 of which were for road traffic matters.
Garda Quinn also pointed out that the defendant was “in the throes of heroin addiction at the moment”.
In mitigation, Mr Sarapajevas’ solicitor Frank Gearty confirmed that his client was indeed dealing with a very serious drug addiction.
Mr Gearty also said that his client had come to Ireland in 2007 and that his ‘fixation’ with cars had lead him into trouble with gardaí.
“Breaking into houses and stealing copper cylinders is a new departure for Darius,” continued Mr Gearty.
“It was to feed, regretfully, a terrible heroin addiction.”
The local solicitor also said that his client was very well regarded in his community and had completely integrated into loca society after his arrival to these shores.
“The heroin has destroyed his life and he is a very good plasterer.
“Darius has saved the State time and money by pleading guilty to these offences at the earliest possible stage.
“At least 10 of the copper cylinders were recovered and he also has a suspended sentence in place as a result of a road traffic matter.”
During her deliberations on the matter, Judge Lydon said the offences before her were very serious.
“The court does hope,” she told the defendant, “that you become free from drugs while incarcerated and that you live a drug free life”.