Frightened barista threatened with ‘HIV syringe’ during robbery

Rainis Koovit sentenced to three years imprisonment over incident at Kaph in Dublin 2

A barista at Dublin 2 cafe Kaph was threatened with a syringe during a robbery. Image: Google Streetview.

A barista at Dublin 2 cafe Kaph was threatened with a syringe during a robbery. Image: Google Streetview.


A man who claimed he was HIV-positive when he threatened a barista with a syringe during a robbery in a cafe has been sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Rainis Koovit (21) brandished a syringe while attempting to grab a tip jar in Kaph Cafe in Drury Street, Dublin and told an employee he would “stick it into her” if she tried to stop him. He made off with €20 worth of foreign currency, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Koovit, of Bru Hostel, Thomas Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to robbery of cash and to producing a syringe with intent to cause injury or intimidate on February 27th last.

Judge Karen O’Connor said the fact he was on bail and had been ordered to stay out of the Dublin 2 area was an aggravating factor.

Garda Padraig McMahon told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that Koovit was at the cafe hours prior to the incident and decided to leave because it was busy.

He went to Merchants Quay drug rehabilitation centre and obtained a syringe, before returning to the cafe and trying to grab the tip jar before realising that it was chained to the counter top.

Bank notes

After threatening the barista with the syringe, he grabbed a few foreign bank notes from the counter and fled the premises. He was pursued by a male staff member who failed to catch him.

The syringe was not believed to have been infected with HIV, the court heard.

Neither of the cafe employees gave a victim impact statement. They told gardaí­ they were extremely frightened during the incident.

The court heard Koovit had used the name Stephen McCormack in the past and has 10 previous convictions under that alias including theft and possession of drugs.

Defence barrister, Luigi Rea BL, said his client moved to Ireland from Estonia when he was a child and lived in Kerry and Laois for a time. He started using cannabis aged 14 and began using heroin after moving to Dublin when he was 17.

Judge O’Connor said that Koovit was being given credit for his early guilty plea, his admissions and his apologies to the victims. She noted that he is a chronic drug addict with a chaotic lifestyle.

However, she said the seriousness of the offence must be marked and sentenced him to three years imprisonment with one year suspended.