A ROMANIAN national already in prison and facing deportation for crimes in Ireland was brought before Letterkenny Circuit Court on Thursday.
Costel Rosloveanu (29) with a previous address in Borris in Ossory, County Laois, but now in Cloverhill Prison, pleaded guilty to the theft of almost €60,000 worth of jewellery from MCCullagh’s Jewellers. He also admitted causing criminal damage of €6,000 to two display cabinets in the jewellery store and cutting five holes in the roof of Letterkenny Shopping Centre costing over €26,000 to repair, all in the early hours of February 2, 2017.
The court heard that Rosloveanu already had convictions in Italy, Romania and France on various charges including attempted murder, theft, receiving stolen goods and burglary. He is serving a three-year sentence in Cloverhill prison imposed by Judge Johnston who ordered Rosloveanu be deported from Ireland to Romania when that sentence is completed in January 2020. The deportation order includes that he not re-enter Ireland for ten years.
Detective Garda Stephen McGonagle told the court how on February 2, 2017 they were contacted by Mr Julian Ball, owner of R McCullagh’s Jewellers. The alarm system at his Letterkenny Shopping Centre outlet woke him through his mobile at 2.15 am. Mr Ball was able to view the intruders on his phone.
Gardai were contacted and two patrol cars went to the area as well as monitoring it on CCTV. They were able to view 2/3 people carrying bags and running from the store into an overgrown area near Ramelton Road and Aldi.
Garda O’Hanlon searched the area and found a number of items including a backpack, bin liner full of jewellery and boxes. In the backpack was a jacket with a silver torch in the pocket and a wallet with Romanian ID in the name of Rosloveanu and a mobile phone. The court heard there was jewellery scattered everywhere.
Gardai discovered five holes cut in the roof of the shopping centre – two above Eason’s, one above Zone clothing and two above McCullagh’s. A step ladder had been taken from a nearby maintenance shed and lowered into the roof space of the centre above the suspended ceiling.
Stock belonging to McCullagh’s to the value of €57,432 was found outside and €56,909 of that was recoverable.
CCTV showed how a stool was used in the shop to smash a display cabinet and another cabinet was smashed with an axe the thieves brought with them. The axe was also used in cutting the roof. The alarm box in the shop was also damaged.
DNA samples were obtained from the silver torch and Europol confirmed to Letterkenny Gardai it was Rosloveanu. They then learned that on March 7, 2018 he had been arrested and was detained in Tullamore.
Mr Patrick McGrath, SC for Rosloveanu, said his client had saved the state time and the cost of a trial by pleading guilty.
“He fully accepts his guilt and involvement in this particular burglary and criminal damage. He had previously worked in Ireland on building sites, then he came back and committed the offences,” Mr McGrath said.
The barrister asked Judge John Aylmer to take into account how much more isolating it was for foreign nationals in prison here. He said his client was anxious to return to his wife and son in Romania.
Judge Aylmer inquired if there was a reciprocal arrangement between Ireland and Romania whereby Rosloveanu could look to serve his sentence there and inquired how prison conditions compared.
“He may not want that,” the judge added.
Mr McGrath said he had no instructions to make that application.
“Maybe for that reason,” he added.
Judge Aylmer remanded Rosloveanu in custody until Wednesday, November 6 when he will sentence him.