Off-duty garda armed with traffic cone caught two robbers, court hears

Kevin Penrose (49) and Larry Brazil (52) jailed for raiding shop in Dublin

Larry Brazil leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to robbery of €2,288 and production of a knife at Centra Store on Westland Row, Dublin 2, on December 17th, 2013.  Photograph: Court Collins.

Larry Brazil leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to robbery of €2,288 and production of a knife at Centra Store on Westland Row, Dublin 2, on December 17th, 2013. Photograph: Court Collins.

 

An off-duty garda has been praised by a judge for arming himself with a traffic cone and catching two robbers after witnessing a raid in a Dublin shop.

Kevin Penrose (49) and Larry Brazil (52) were sentenced by Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The men have a total of 159 previous convictions between them for offences including robbery, burglary and drug offences.

Brazil, a father of five, of Cappagh Avenue, Finglas, pleaded guilty to robbery of €2,288 and production of a knife at Centra Store on Westland Row, Dublin 2, on December 17th, 2013. He received a four-year suspended sentence.

Penrose, a father of three, of Casement Road, also in Finglas, was jailed for four years after he pleaded guilty to robbery. He is currently serving a six-year prison term for a robbery carried out in May 2014.

Brazil, who had not carried out a violent crime in the previous 10 years, later told gardaí­ he raided the shop because he needed money for Christmas.

Judge Nolan praised the diligent work of Detective Garda Paul Johnson who he said “disabled” the robber’s getaway motorbike. He also congratulated the members of the public who assisted the detective in restraining the raiders until gardaí­ arrived.

He accepted that Brazil has since rehabilitated and is now methadone-free. He said the man had reached a point in his life when he wants to reform and added he was going “to take a chance on him” before he suspended the four year prison term.

Garda Damien Beakey told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, the men robbed €2,288 from the Centra Store but the cash was still on them when gardaí­ arrested them.

Brazil’s 82 previous convictions included theft, drugs, burglary and road traffic offences. He had been released from Mountjoy Prison in 2003 and had not committed a violent crime from then until this robbery.

Penrose’s 79 previous convictions included robbery, aggravated burglary and false imprisonment.

Det Gda Johnson was on his way to Pearse Street train station when he spotted two customers wearing motorbike helmets at the counter in the Centra Store. He stopped, thinking it was unusual and noticed that their visors were pulled down.

The detective then armed himself with a traffic cone and waited outside the shop having heard the men threatening staff. He noticed that a motorbike parked outside the shop had its engine running and knocked it over anticipating it to be the getaway vehicle.

When the raiders left the shop, Det Gda Johnson ran after them while protecting himself with the traffic cone. He identified himself as a garda and noticed that Brazil was armed with a knife. He pushed him away and the robber fell over the motorbike.

Members of the public then came to the detective’s assistance and managed to hold down the raiders until gardaí arrived.

Michael Bowman SC, defending Brazil, said that previous to his client’s release from prison in 2003, his criminal behaviour was akin to that of a serious drug user.

Gda Beakey agreed that since that date, prior to the robbery, Brazil’s offences related to road traffic convictions and similar minor convictions.

Mr Bowman said Brazil had been drug-free and doing well with his partner and their seven-year-old son but just before Christmas in 2013 when he was notified that his rent was going to be increased.

Counsel said Brazil relapsed into drug use and made “the catastrophic decision to carry out this robbery in a vain attempt to keep his family unit together”. He has not come to garda attention since and has completed drug rehabilitation with Father Peter McVerry.

Pieter Le Vert BL, defending Penrose, said his client has been on a methadone programme since he was jailed last year and is studying various courses.