A man who walked out of a Portadown clothing store with over a thousand pounds’ worth of jeans and jackets over his shoulder has been sentenced to seven months in custody.
Giedrius Vareikis, of Canal Street, Newry, also lifted a £400 mountain bike that belonged to a further individual on the same day and damaged a car two months prior.
The 47-year-old appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, via videolink from Maghaberry, charged with two counts of theft, one count of attempted theft and one count of criminal damage.
Further charges of interference with vehicles, going equipped for theft and possessing an article with a blade in a public place were withdrawn by the prosecution.
For the two theft charges and the attempted theft charge, the defendant was given the option to be tried with a jury, or in the magistrates’ court.
With the assistance of a Lithuanian interpreter, he opted to deal with these charges without a jury, and entered guilty pleas to the three charges.
The criminal damage and attempted theft charges relate to an incident which occurred on August 6 of this year.
The prosecution outlined that on this date, the defendant had entered a parked vehicle in Lurgan, and was captured on CCTV remaining in the vehicle for 30 minutes. He then exited the vehicle.
When examined, it was found there was “significant damage” sustained to the vehicle. Swabs carried out on the vehicle returned results of the defendant’s DNA.
The two theft charges relate to incidents on October 26, when police received a report of a stolen mountain bike in Portadown. The bike was valued at £400.
On the same date, police received a report from a clothing store in Portadown.
The defendant was accused of having gone into the store and stolen two Hugo Boss coats and eight pairs of Tommy Hilfiger jeans, with a total value of £1,278.
Aaron Thompson BL, defending, said that his client had been in custody since October 26, so was approaching time served for a four-month sentence.
He told the court that the defendant was in breach of a suspended sentence, which had been imposed in October for a previous theft matter.
However, he stressed that his client, who is Lithuanian and was doing temporary work in Northern Ireland, had pleaded guilty to the charges at the first opportunity.
Defence added that the defendant has had alcohol problems, which helped drive the offending, and that he had stolen the items to pay off a debt.
“He walked into the store, he took clothes and just walked out with them over his arm….then he was found in a park by police a short distance away.”
District Judge Brady, presiding, said that she had “no choice” but to impose an immediate custodial sentence, given the fact that the defendant had been given a suspended sentence on October 15, and committed similar offences two weeks later.
For the criminal damage and attempted theft charges, Vareikis was given three months custody on each, to run concurrently.
For the two thefts, he was sentenced to four months each, to run concurrently with the three months imposed.
District Judge Brady then invoked the suspended sentence of three months, to run consecutively, making a total of seven months in custody.
“I’m not making any order for compensation as he’s in custody and he has no reasonable way of paying it,” District Judge Brady added.