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Men who stole kilos of chicken, beef and lamb from restaurant store room go free

One of the men climbed up a fire escape into the store room of a restaurant on Grafton Street, where he stole the meat products worth €2,000.

TWO MEN HAVE avoided jail sentences after stealing 60 kilos of chicken, beef and lamb from a restaurant.

Thomas Harvey (42) climbed up a fire escape ladder and into the store room of Captain Americas on Grafton Street, where he stole the meat products worth €2,000, a court heard.

Harvey threw the meat down to his co-accused, Daniel Kavanagh (29), and they hailed a taxi to a hotel on the far side of the city, where they tried unsuccessfully to sell the meat.

It was later sold to a mother-of-eight for the sum of €100, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

At a hearing today, Judge Martin Nolan sentenced both men to 18 months in prison but suspended it in full, remarking, “As burglaries go, this is not the most insidious.”

The court heard that Harvey and Kavanagh were using drugs at the time but are now drug-free.

Counsel for Kavanagh said he apologised to gardaí on his arrest, saying, “I was just doing what I had to do to survive.”

Kavanagh also told gardaí: “I would like to apologise to the taxi driver. He was just doing his job. At least the mam and the kids got fed.”

Harvey of Coultry Drive, Ballymun, Dublin 9, pleaded guilty to trespass and theft at Captain Americas of Grafton Street on 27 July 2021.

Kavanagh, of Loretto Hall, Peter McVerry Trust, St Stephen’s Green, pleaded to the same offence.

An investigating garda told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that it wasn’t until four days after the theft that the manager of Captain Americas noticed that a large amount of food was missing from the storage area.

CCTV was examined and showed Harvey climbing up the fire escape from Anne’s Lane, entering the storeroom, taking the meat and throwing it down to Kavanagh below.

Kavanagh gathered up the meat, put it into containers and hailed a cab, telling the taxi driver that they worked in restaurants and had to sell off the meat.

When arrested, Harvey made no comment, but Kavanagh said he had been going down the lane to do some drugs and that the offence was impulsive.

Kavanagh also told the gardaí they had sold the meat to “some lady with eight kids” and got €100 from it, which he used to buy heroin.

Kavanagh has 97 previous convictions, mostly from the District Court, including 40 for public order offences. Other convictions are for burglary, firearms and theft offences.

Harvey has 75 previous convictions, including 43 for theft, 12 for drug offences and others for public order and criminal damage.

“You’re not very good at this burglary; you always get caught,” the judge told the men but added that he was going to take a chance on them on the basis of the references made on their behalf.

“We’ll see what happens. Sometimes people surprise you in a good way,” remarked the judge.

Kevin White BL, defending Harvey, said his client had been a chronic drug user but had changed his life after his son died of an overdose a year ago.

“It has taken the death of his own son from drugs to make him face his own addiction, but he has worked tirelessly to better himself since then,” counsel for Harvey said.

The court heard Harvey has successfully completed residential rehabilitation and aftercare programmes and now helps to support others towards recovery. References were submitted from the Tolka River Project and a key worker on Harvey’s behalf.

Nicola Cox BL, defending Kavanagh, also submitted a number of testimonials on behalf of her client.

Cox said Kavanagh had grown up in foster care and that he and his mother both suffered from mental health issues.

He is now drug-free and doing very well while in custody on another matter, the court heard.

Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, told the court “that none of the meat had been recovered”.