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Gardaí use thermal imaging to catch pair of robbers hiding in bushes

The men had stolen a phone, a wallet and its contents from a young man in Lusk.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

GARDAÍ IN A helicopter used thermal imaging to catch a pair of robbers hiding in bushes after a mugging, a court has heard.

Folarin Odunlami (22) of New Haven Bay, Balbriggan, Co Dublin and Arnaud Farel (20) of the same address, both pleaded guilty to robbing a phone, a wallet and its contents from a young man on Station Road, Lusk, Co Dublin on 9 March, 2016.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the robbers were pursued by gardaí and dropped 15 ft from a footbridge into a carpark. 

They were later detected lying side by side under brambles, by members of the Garda Air Support Unit using thermal imaging.

Farel was sentenced last March to three years in prison with 18 months suspended, to run consecutive to a separate six-year sentence he is serving for a previous assault causing serious harm.

Farel had been on bail at the time of the robbery in Lusk, the court heard.

At a hearing today, Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentencing of Odunlami pending an assessment to determine his suitability for community service. 

Sergeant Ciara Geraghty told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that the victim had been walking home after visiting his girlfriend on the night in question. As he walked up Station Road in Lusk, he noticed two men on the opposite side of the road, one of whom crossed over towards him.

Steak knife

This man pushed the victim back towards a laneway and pulled a long steak knife from his jacket.

He told the victim to empty his pockets and said he wanted his phone, wallet and money, warning him, “if you don’t comply, I will cut you”.

The victim was terrified, fearing he would be stabbed, and as he was taking things out of his pockets, the second man got involved. The men took his phone and wallet containing €110 in cash and told him to run down the lane or they would cut and stab him.

The victim ran into a nursing home and called gardaí. He then went in the patrol car and identified the two culprits at a nearby train station.

Gardaí pursued the pair, who dropped 15ft from a footbridge into a carpark and hid, only to be discovered in foliage a short time later.

Gardaí found the victim’s phone and cash on the ground underneath where the men had been lying, while his driving licence was later discovered in one of the men’s pockets. All items were returned.

A victim impact report was presented to court but was not read out 

Odunlami has two previous minor convictions for possession of knives and theft.

Patrick Jackson BL, defending Odunlami, said the co-accused was a known robber while his client had not come to garda attention before or since this offence

He presented letters to the court from Dundalk IT where Odunlami is studying computer systems, and from his pastor.

The court heard Odunlami is from a strict Christian background and moved to Ireland from his native Nigeria when he was aged five.

His counsel said he was bullied in school and had trouble with learning. He has worked in a barber shop and as a warehouse operative. He will be sentenced on 20 February next.

Comments have been disabled as sentencing has not occurred 

About the author:

Jessie Magee

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