Letterkenny woman in court on spate of shop thefts

November 28, 2023

A Letterkenny woman charged with a spate of thefts has been warned to show respect for the court.

Tina Connors appeared before Letterkenny District Court on Monday after four bench warrants were executed for non-appearance at courts in Donegal and Limerick in the past.

Connors was brought before the court on road traffic charges and was ordered to stay out of some retail outlets after pleading guilty to a spate of thefts.

The 25-year-old of Canal Road, Letterkenny, was arrested on Monday at her home address. Evidence of her arrest, charge and caution was given to the court by gardai.

After she was conveyed to Letterkenny Garda Station, it was discovered that there were four bench warrants in existence and these were subsequently executed before Connors was brought before the court on Monday afternoon.

“Such an amount of Garda resources and court time,” remarked Judge Eiteain Cunningham.

Connors pleaded guilty to a series of theft offences relating to goods and clothes with a total value of €156.64. Details of these offences were given to the court by Sergeant Jim Collins.

Connors was charged with stealing €25 of household items from Dealz, Letterkenny on August 22, 2023 and with stealing €50 worth of clothes from the same shop on July 3, 2023.

Connors was charged with the theft of a red Tommy Hilfiger top valued at €64.90 from McElhinney’s, Ballybofey on November 25, 2023

The accused was also charged with stealing baby formula valued at €7.75 from Kelly’s Centra, Mountain Top, Letterkenny, on August 16, 2023 and with stealing a €2 packet of buns from the same shop on February 13, 2022.

Connors also pleaded guilty to stealing a children’s hair band worth €6.99 from TK Maxx, Letterkenny, on October 8, 2021.

Mr Patsy Gallagher, solicitor for Connors, said the products in question were ‘of an essential nature’. “She is a 25-year-old mother-of-two and her partner is currently elsewhere – and will be for another year-and-a-half.

“These were nominal values and of a nuisance nature. There can never be a valid reason, but there is a reason. These were either children’s items or food items. She is in accommodation with two young children and has only sporadic family support.” Mr Gallagher said his client was ‘apologetic’ and cited ‘unhelpful influences’ in her life.

Judge Cunningham said she did not accept that the reason for her previous non-attendance at court was down to a fear of what lay ahead.

“There is warrant after warrant after warrant,” Judge Cunningham said.

Two of the four warrants related to non-appearance at Limerick District Court and Connors was ordered to appear at court in Limerick on Monday next, December 4.

Mr Gallagher asked that road traffic charges against Connors be put back ‘for clarification’.

Sergeant Collins asked that, if the court was minded to grant bail, strict conditions be imposed.

Judge Cunningham said she was ‘really not impressed’ by Connors. “She is not attending courts around the country,”
Judge Cunningham said. “She has absolutely no respect for the court and no fear or concern about what will happen to her. She is of the view that the court will simply accept her excuse of what else could she do.”

Judge Cunningham said she did appreciate that Connors is a mother with no assistance at presence.

Connors was granted bail on condition that she sign on three times a week at a Garda Station. She is to be contactable by gardai by telephone 24-7 and has to engage with the Probation Service.

Connors was also ordered to stay out of Dealz, McElhinney’s, TK Maxx and Kelly’s Centra and was told to appear at court on ‘each and every occasion’ and to ‘show respect to the court’.

A probation and welfare report, to include Connors’ suitability for community service, was sought by the Judge.

The matter was adjourned until December 11, 2023.