A former Lake Garda man has been jailed for seven months for breaking into a colleague’s locker and stealing €43 in cash from a lunch box inside.
Aul Arkins, 33, was a serving member of the force and was under “severe stress” after a breakup when he took the money, a court has heard.
Judge Bryan Smyth convicted him, saying it was a “gross breach of trust” and Arkins was convicted of assault and trespassing.
Arkins, who has since resigned from An Garda Síochána, pleaded guilty on April 11, 2019 to theft of and criminally damaging a locker at Swords Garda Station in Dublin.
Dublin District Court heard he had taken €43 from a lunch box in the locker and matching fingerprints were found after an investigation.
Arkins, of Portland Row in north inner-city Dublin, entered his plea last month and the case came back before Judge Smyth for a victim impact testimony.
Defense statements and letters from a football club, a youth club, a family doctor and the defendant’s mother were also presented to the court.
Arkins resigned from the force last September and was now a student retraining in sports and fitness, said defense attorney Donal Pattison.
The thief was suffering from anxiety at the time of the crime, was taking medication and was under “severe stress and pressure”, the court heard.
Judge Smyth said Arkins was given a partial suspended sentence last October for an assault in 2018, with a trespassing charge being considered.
The burglary of the locker occurred after that incident and that was of concern to the court, Judge Smyth said.
Mr Pattison said a “very meaningful relationship” had broken down and the accused found it very difficult. He had sought his GP’s help regarding the stress caused by the breakup.
Arkins had served time for the attack and being in custody was a “very difficult experience for him”.
“The prospect of imprisonment weighs heavily on Mr. Arkins and he will do everything possible to avoid it,” Mr. Pattison said.
He had compensation for the money taken and the judge said the sum should be handed over to the victim.
Judge Smyth said what happened was a “serious breach of trust” and the victim’s impact statement set out the impact not only on the victim “but on his colleagues”.
“That’s not lost on Mr. Arkins for a second,” said Mr. Pattison.
Video surveillance “manipulated”
The judge said the case warranted jail time and gave the seven months for theft report, taking into account the other offense.
Earlier, Detective Garda Caitriona Beirne said the locker had been technically examined after the theft and some Gardaí had been fingerprinted without a match.
Arkins refused to volunteer his prints, but they were taken after his arrest and a positive match was taken from the locker.
The accused did not confess when he was later arrested, detained and interrogated again.
CCTV footage from the car park was viewed and it was believed the camera had been ‘rigged’.
There was no evidence Arkins tampered with CCTV, but Det Gda Beirne said he was alone in the public office where the controls were located.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/ex-garda-jailed-for-stealing-43-from-a-fellow-officers-lunchbox-in-station-41838390.html Ex-Garda jailed for stealing 43 euros from fellow officer’s lunchbox at station