Man jailed for stealing laptop from ambulance as paramedic cared for patient

Alex Harris pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary and stealing a laptop

Alex Harris has 63 previous convictions and was on bail for a previous burglary carried out on July 26th last year. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Alex Harris has 63 previous convictions and was on bail for a previous burglary carried out on July 26th last year. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

A man who stole a staff laptop from an unlocked ambulance as the paramedic was taking care of a patient has been jailed for three years.

Alex Harris (38) of Sackville Avenue, Ballybough, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of burglary and stealing a laptop on dates between July 26th, 2019 and November 4th, 2019. He was on bail when he stole the laptop.

Garda Charlene Doyle told Michael Hourigan BL, prosecuting, that a paramedic had parked his ambulance on Dorset Street Upper, in Dublin, to deal with a patient. He left the doors closed but unlocked.

When he returned, he discovered that the patient area of the ambulance had been ransacked and his work laptop had been stolen.

Garda Doyle confirmed that the laptop, which held sensitive information, was never recovered. She said the man’s car key was also stolen. It had been in a pocket in the laptop bag.

Harris was arrested after he was nominated as a suspect from CCTV footage that showed him walking towards the ambulance and passing by again carrying the laptop.

Harris has 63 previous convictions and was on bail for a previous burglary carried out on July 26th last year.

A vintage bike, jewellery and a laptop was taken from the burglary in July after Harris broke a pane of glass to get into the house. There was nobody at home at the time and Harris was identified after his DNA was detected in blood splatters found at the scene.

The following August, Harris broke into another home during which he stole two sets of car keys after ransacking the house. CCTV footage from the home was circulated and Harris was later identified as a suspect.

It was accepted that Harris had a long-life addiction to heroin and had committed the offence to feed his habit.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said his client’s “earnest wish” was to attend for residential drug treatment when he gets out of prison as he wanted to be a good father to his young son.

Counsel handed in a letter of apology from Harris and submitted that he would have “an opportunity to put his lawless life behind him” when he leaves prison. He has the support of his mother and the promise of work from his uncle, the court heard.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that Harris burgled unoccupied buildings and stole from the ambulance when he found it was unlocked.

He accepted that Harris wanted to reform and deal with his drug addiction. He sentenced him to a term of 18 months in prison for the earliest burglary and a consecutive 18-month term for the theft of the laptop.