A court heard how staff then alerted Gardaí when the text read: “This phone has been stolen.”
The incredible coincidence led to the arrest of a Letterkenny man who this week pleaded guilty to possession of stolen goods.
Inspector David Kelly told Letterkenny District Court that the expensive iPhone 5 had been stolen from a handbag at The Pulse nightclub in January this year.
Patrick McDonagh, who is 34 and with an address at 54 The Elms, Glencar, Letterkenny, went into the Meteor Shop in Letterkenny Shopping Centre on January 27 this year and handed over an iPhone 5, asking staff to insert a new sim.
“He told staff he was having trouble with it and wanted a new sim,” said Inspector Kelly.
Staff alerted Gardai as McDonagh left the shop – but he was later identified by CCTV footage.
Defence solicitor Patsy Gallagher said McDonagh had bought the phone at a car boot sale for €150 and had no idea it had been stolen.
“It was on offer for more than that by Mr McDonagh haggled down the price. There is no loss in relation to the matter,” said Mr Gallagher.
But Judge Paul Kelly disagreed.
“The owner was deprived of this phone for a period of time You don’t bet an iPhone 5 for €150 and there wouldn’t be thefts if there wasn’t a market for stolen property,” said the judge.
He fined the father of four €250. McDonagh was given six months to pay with five days in prison if he fails to pay the fine.