Jailed for stealing from charity box

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A man who stole money from a Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice charity box has been jailed for four months.

Patrick Pearse McCrossan, of Bonds Hill, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and assault on police on June 2, last year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the 41-year-old approached a woman who was taking money out of an ATM and attempted to steal it.

After police arrived at the scene, staff from Millennium Forum reported that a man had stolen money from a charity box.

The description provided matched McCrossan and he was arrested.

He was taken to the police station and as he was being processed, spat in the face of a police officer.

During police interview, the defendant admitted stealing the money from the charity box.

However, he denied trying to steal money from the woman using the ATM.

McCrossan claimed he was actually ‘flirting with her’.

It was revealed the defendant has 74 previous convictions, including previous offences of theft.

Jailing McCrossan, District Judge Peter King said the theft of a charity box was a ‘serious offence’.

‘The court has to send out a message that the theft of a charity box, which must by it’s very nature be accessible to the public, is not to be tolerated’.

The judge also described the assault on the police officer as ‘disgusting’.