An habitual thief who stole an undertakers van and burgled two shops was handed a 27 month sentence today (Thurs).
Newry Crown Court heard that when Jimmy Connors (20) and his 30-year-old accomplice Thomas Connors wrenched open the shutters of a funeral directors in February last year, they caused £8,000 of damage before stealing the black Citroen van.
Sentencing Jimmy Connors and adjourning the case against Thomas Connors, Judge Gordon Kerr QC said it was “perfectly clear” the younger man had been driving the van as it sped along Bridle Loanan Street and Old Warrenpoint Road.
With a police vehicle parked across the road to block it’s path, “officers feared for their safety” but instead, Jimmy swerved up on to the kerb and sped away.
Police investigations and reports lead officers to seize CCTV from two businesses in Mullaghbawn, Todays Local shop where the pair had kicked through the door’s glass panel where they stole cigarettes and other items and from Julia’s take away where they had “prised open a door” but had not stolen anything.
Jimmy Connors, from Ganna Way in Warrenpoint and Thomas Connors, from Navan Court in Armagh, both entered guilty pleas to aggravated vehicle theft, burglary and burglary with intent to steal.
The 20-year-old Connors also admitted dangerous driving and driving without insurance.
Judge Kerr revealed that within hours of the incidents, Jimmy Connors was arrested at his home “hiding under his mother’s bed” and the judge said his record of 77 convictions including multiple entries for theft and burglary, was an aggravating feature.
One feature which was not opened before the court was that at one stage, Jimmy Connors was found cable tied and half naked against a wall following a break-in in Cullyhanna in what appeared to be a quasi citizens arrest.
Having broken into a home on the Cregganduff Road in Cullyhanna on 19 November ‘19, the property was ransacked and two 50-euro notes stolen.
With the suspect vehicle found by cops with four flat tyres and reports that two men were spotted leaving the scene across fields, Connor was arrested by cops after officers found him half naked with neither trousers nor shoes and bound in cable ties.
Although he suffered some cuts and bruises, Connors gave no explanation as to how he came to be injured or bound.
In court on Thursday, Judge Kerr said while he could have imposed consecutive sentences, following defence submission he would instead impose a global sentence.
Ordering Connors to serve half his 27 month sentence in jail and half on licence, the judge said while he was assessed as a high risk of further offences, he was not a public danger.
Thomas Connors will be sentenced once reports have been completed.