Thief caught after writing his name and address on the back of a stolen scratch card to claim his prize


A Dublin man who stole a winning scratch card was caught by gardaí after cashing in the ticket to claim his €5,000 prize, a court has heard.

Wayne Sullivan (38) from Beauvale Park, Artane, Dublin 9, wrote his name and address on the back of the winning card before cashing it at the GPO.

Sullivan was jailed for a year and a half on Wednesday, after pleading guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing a Spar store in Coolock on January 12, 2021.

The court heard that Sullivan took a taxi from his home to the Spar store, asked the taxi driver to turn around and wait for him. He entered the store and, armed with a plastic gun sticking out of his pocket, took some cash and scratch cards.

A member of staff later told Gardaí that she thought the object looked like a child’s toy, but was scared and didn’t want to take the risk. After the heist, Sullivan took the cab to drop him off at his house.

Criminal intelligentsia

Garda Detective John Delaney agreed with the defense attorney that he “wouldn’t put Sullivan high on the list of criminal intelligentsia.”

He further agreed that Sullivan was “very cool and calm” throughout his robbery of the Spar store.

Gda Delaney told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that the salesman at the Spar checkout noticed a man who appeared nervous entering the store around 8 p.m. on the evening in question.

She said the man quietly came over to the cash register, placed a Dunnes Stores Lifetime bag on the counter, and passed her a note that read, “Don’t f**k up. Don’t f**k up.

When the cashier read the note and looked up at Sullivan, he showed her the tip of what looked like a plastic gun sticking out of his pocket.

Coin bags

She put cash totaling €126 in Sullivan’s bag, and when he told her there were more coins under the counter, she added a few bags of coins.

The court heard that Sullivan then pointed to some of the higher value scratch cards, so the cashier grabbed various ten euro scratch cards and put them in the bag as well.

Sullivan then left the store quietly and the cashier pressed the alarm button to alert gardaí. Three days later, O’Sullivan went to the GPO and cashed in one of the scratch cards which had won €5,000.

When gardaí used the barcodes to trace the winning card, they found Sullivan had written his name and address on the back.

Gardaí searched Sullivan’s home under warrant and found the clothes he had been wearing in the robbery. A face mask left in the Spar was found to contain Sullivan’s DNA.

The taxi driver who dropped Sullivan to and from the robbery told Gardaí his suspicions were aroused when Sullivan asked him to turn around outside the store and wait for him.

The taxi driver said Sullivan seemed to hesitate and gather courage before entering the store, then seemed in a hurry to leave the store.

Previous convictions

Sullivan has 40 prior convictions, all from district court, including traffic violations, public order and theft.

Cathal McGrail BL, defending, said Sullivan had been addicted to the tablets but was now completely drug free and very keen to get out of jail and into residential treatment.

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“He wants out of there and resents the availability of drugs in prison,” Mr McGreal said, adding that Sullivan has a daughter.

Judge Martin Nolan said that while Sullivan arrived at the Spar store with some hesitation and the theft was “very low key”, it still involved the threat of violence.

“His card hit, he cashed it, the money was spent,” Judge Nolan said, handing down a two-and-a-half-year sentence.

The judge suspended the final year of the sentence and backdated it to March 18 of this year, when Sullivan was taken into custody for other matters. The €5,000 won by Sullivan with the scratch card was not recovered, the court heard.

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