'Organised professional raid' by three-man shoplifting gang
A three-man shoplifting gang was brought before the District Court sitting in Wexford after more than €1,000 worth of goods were removed from Dunnes Stores in Gorey.
All three, who had the assistance of a Romanian interpreter, pleaded guilty to the offences before the court.
The court heard that they had been arrested after attempting to repeat their crime at the Enniscorthy branch of the same supermarket chain. Judge Gerard Haughton was told that one of the trio had been in Ireland less than 24 hours before he drove his two colleagues from Dublin to County Wexford.
The second member of the trio had a previous conviction for similar offences on his record, imposed at Balbriggan Court earlier this year.
The third was a member of the choir at the Orthodox church serving the Romanian community in Dublin.
Those prosecuted were Florian Bacanu (44), charged with stealing €1,284 worth of groceries and alcohol, along with co-defendants Liviu Zota (29) and Vicentiu Ovidiu Postolachi (21). Zota stood accused of handling the stolen goods and the address of all three was given as 44 Deerpark Square in Tallaght.
Detective Garda Martin Brauders told how the force was alerted by staff at Dunnes Stores on the afternoon of May 5 when the threesome arrived in Enniscorthy in a red Peugeot 305. Bacanu was the one who entered the shop with a foil-lined shopping bag before helping himself to bottles of brandy and expensive jars of honey.
He apparently became aware that he was under surveillance as he began replacing everything on the shop shelves.
He went outside to the other two before all three fled as gardaí approached, though they were all later detained.
The car turned out to have a boot full of groceries and large bottles of whiskey which, as CCTV confirmed, had been taken from Dunnes in Gorey.
The detective confirmed that Bacanu was convicted of theft at Balbriggan last month, while it emerged that car driver Zota had arrived in Ireland from Scotland the previous day.
Orthodox Christian priest Father Peter was at the court to tell Judge Gerard Haughton that Postolachi sang in his church choir.
The judge described what occurred as an 'organised professional raid' intended to net high value goods which he marked with prison sentences.
Zota was handed a six-month jail term and disqualified for two years; Postolachi was given four months; Zota seven months. All three were freed after posting bail pending appeals against the sentences.