Traffic cone policeman catches shop robbers
An off-duty police officer has been praised by a judge for arming himself with a traffic cone and catching two robbers in Dublin.
Det Garda Paul Johnson disabled the getaway motorbike after the robbery in Westland Row in December 2013.
Kevin Penrose, 49, of Casement Road, Finglas, was jailed for four years after he pleaded guilty to robbery.
Larry Brazil, 52, of Cappagh Avenue, Finglas, received a four-year suspended sentence.
Brazil had admitted stealing 2,288 euro (£1,784) and possession of a knife at the Centra store.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Det Johnson was on his way to Pearse Street train station when he spotted two customers at the counter in the store wearing motorbike helmets.
He stopped, thinking it was unusual, and noticed that their visors were pulled down.
The detective then armed himself with a traffic cone and waited outside the shop having heard the men threatening staff.
He noticed that a motorbike parked outside the shop had its engine running and knocked it over anticipating it to be the getaway vehicle.
When the raiders left the shop Det Johnson ran after them while protecting himself with the traffic cone.
He identified himself as a police officer and noticed that Brazil was armed with a knife. He pushed him away and the robber fell over the motorbike.
Members of the public then came to the detective's assistance and managed to hold down the raiders until other police arrived.
Brazil later told police he raided the shop because he needed money for Christmas.
'Take a chance'
The judge praised the diligent work of Det Johnson who he said "disabled" the robber's getaway motorbike.
He accepted that Brazil has since rehabilitated and is now methadone free.
He said the man had reached a point in his life when he wants to reform and added he was going "to take a chance on him" before he suspended the four-year prison term.
The court heard that the cash was still on the men when they were arrested.
Brazil's 82 previous convictions included theft, drugs, burglary and road traffic offences. He had been released from Mountjoy Prison in 2003 and had not committed a violent crime from then until this robbery.
Penrose's 79 previous convictions included robbery, aggravated burglary and false imprisonment.