Teenager who stole steamroller facing Christmas in custody, judge warns

A DUBLIN schoolboy who stole and crashed a steamroller has been warned he is facing a custodial sentence.

The 16-year-old pleaded guilty in October to the theft from a Dublin City Council yard at Marrowbone Lane on September 17, 2017.

Garda Conor McShane had told Judge John O’Connor at the Dublin Children’s Court the teen and another person entered the yard and started up the steamroller.

However, the court heard they did not get far and “they drove the steamroller into a fence and left the scene”.

Garda McShane said no damage was done.

The boy also pleaded guilty to burglary and stealing a van from a Dublin 8 garage on October 1, 2017.

Garda McShane said the teen entered and stole a van. He drove out of the premises but returned the van later.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, also admitted stealing a used tyre on October 14 last year. The court heard he wanted it for a Halloween bonfire but he had drawn his arm back and had clenched fist when he threatened a staff member.

Garda McShane agreed with defence solicitor Brian Keenan the teenager was co-operative when he was arrested and he had apologised.

Mr Keenan pleaded with the court to note the teen’s guilty plea, that he was in full-time education and his willingness to engage with the Probation Service.

The boy, who remains on bail, was aged 15 at the time of the offences and other individuals were also involved, the solicitor had said.

The case resumed on Tuesday when Judge O’Connor was furnished with a pre-sentence welfare report. Judge O’Connor noted the teenager had missed appointments with his probation officer but the mother explained it was her fault.

She had been under too much family stress to attend the meetings and did not think she was allowed to send the boy alone.

However, the judge noted there were on-going concerns about the teen’s peer group which was a “big issue”.

The teen remained silent during the hearing but his mother explained he was doing well in school and came from an excellent background. She asked the judge to explain what he meant when he referred to the teen’s criminality, and enquired if was he referring to “robbing”.

The judge explained he was talking about the boy’s charges: burglary, criminal damage and vehicle theft. He also noted that in a previous case it had emerged the boy had been used by a family member.

He added that the teen’s friends were involved in a criminal behaviour and the boy was at risk of spending Christmas in the Oberstown detention centre unless there was a “complete change”

“Serious?” the mother asked.

“Very serious,” replied Judge O’Connor.

The case resumes in December.

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