A serial burglar who escaped from custody by making a run for it from the Courts of Criminal Justice in Dublin last summer was recaptured socialising in Dublin on Friday night after almost six months at large.
The man, who is in his 30s and from north Dublin, has previous convictions for burglary, is currently charged other offences and is a suspect for another set of crimes he has not yet been charged with. He has well over 100 previous convictions and specialises in burglaries at private homes and businesses, mostly restaurants in central Dublin.
Some of his previous convictions relate to assaults and other crimes against the person. He has broken into some homes while the occupants were present and has burgled several adjoining properties in rapid succession during crime sprees.
He has spent large periods of his adult life in prison and had just been released from a lengthy sentence when he was arrested for further crimes last summer.
The man, who has committed many of his crimes while on bail for other offences, managed to break free and escape last July after being taken under escort to the Courts of Criminal Justice in central Dublin.
He was driven into the courts complex via the vehicular entrance. It leads down a ramp into a yard where suspects are taken out of Garda cars and prison vans before being walked into the building via a back entrance sealed off from the public.
However, The Irish Times understands the man ran towards secure shutters that were closing and managed to scramble under them just before they closed. He then fled the vicinity on foot. While an alert was circulated among gardaí, he was not recaptured at the time.
It has since emerged he travelled to Northern Ireland where he began carrying out more burglaries before being caught for those crimes in Belfast and spending a period in custody. It was not immediately clear where he went when he was released in the North but he eventually returned to the Republic.
On Friday evening as gardaí were policing central Dublin as many people went into the city to celebrate the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the at-large criminal was spotted by one of the gardaí on patrol in Temple Bar.
While the suspect was just about to get into a taxi after emerging from a laneway, gardaí moved in an arrested him. He has already appeared before the courts and was remanded in custody to appear before the courts again this week to be sentenced for the outstanding charges.
Apart from the man’s arrest, gardaí said Dublin city centre was busy at the weekend as the number of people socialising increased on Saturday night after the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. However, as licenced premises were not expecting restrictions to be eased so quickly, they had not applied for late opening exemptions last week. That meant many popular night spots did not open or closed by 12.30am.
Gardaí described the atmosphere as celebratory and while no major disturbances were reported, two serious assaults were committed in south central Dublin, with one man losing a section of his ear during one of those assaults.