€26,000 Rolex stolen in Dundrum ‘thrown out’ window

Watch yet to be recovered after thief claimed it was discarded during high-speed chase

James Gallagher (28), of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft at Weir’s Jewellers, Dundrum Shopping Centre (above),  and dangerous driving and driving without insurance on the M50 on September 25th, 2013. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

James Gallagher (28), of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft at Weir’s Jewellers, Dundrum Shopping Centre (above), and dangerous driving and driving without insurance on the M50 on September 25th, 2013. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

A Rolex watch worth over €26,000 which was taken by a thief and supposedly thrown out of a car window in south Dublin has yet to be recovered, a court has heard.

James Gallagher (28) took the watch from a customer who was trying it on in a jewellery store in Dundrum Town Centre and was later spotted by gardaí fleeing the area in a car.

A high-speed chase took place which ended when the Garda car crashed and lost sight of Gallagher.

When arrested two weeks later, Gallagher claimed he had thrown the watch out the window during the chase as they passed Wesley College in Ballinteer, south Dublin.

Judge Martin Nolan asked whether the watch was ever recovered. The court heard a search of the area did take place after Gallagher’s claim but it was never found.

“We did a search but two weeks had passed by then judge,” a garda told the court.

Judge Nolan imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence on Gallagher, and backdated it to when he went into custody.

He said Gallagher had put members of the public in considerable danger by engaging gardaí in a high speed chase along portions of the M50.

Gallagher, of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft at Weir’s Jewellers, Dundrum and dangerous driving and driving without insurance on the M50 on September 25th, 2013.

Prosecuting counsel Caroline Cummins BL presented evidence that a man entered the jewellers and asked to try on a Rolex or Breitling watch with a gold band. The shop assistant took a Rolex worth €26,200 out of the display case and showed it to him.

As the customer was examining the watch, Gallagher appeared over his shoulder and grabbed it. There was a brief tussle between the customer, shop assistant and Gallagher before the thief escaped with the timepiece.

A security guard gave chase and saw Gallagher drive away in a Volkswagen Golf. A Garda car spotted the Golf nearby driving dangerously and started to follow it.

Gallagher led gardaí on a chase towards Enniskerry, reaching speeds of more than 120 km/h on roads with a 50km/h speed limit.

Breaking red lights

He was seen driving through roundabouts, breaking red lights and driving the wrong way on the roadway. On several occasions he nearly hit other cars.

The gardaí giving chase lost sight of Gallagher when the patrol car lost control and crashed.

He was later arrested after being identified on CCTV footage from the shop.

Gallagher told gardaí he stole the watch to feed his crack cocaine habit. He said he had it in his pocket before throwing it out the window at a roundabout near Wesley College.

Defence counsel Gráinne O’Neill BL said her client is now addressing his drug addiction. She said there was no violence used in the theft and that it was a crime of opportunity.