TWO fraudster brothers were jailed after they forced a pensioner to buy boxes of power tools and knives — leaving her €6,500 out of pocket.
Conniving Thomas and Patrick O’Driscoll followed the vulnerable OAP back to her isolated rural home after spotting her out shopping.
Detective Garda Martin Bohane told a court the now 72-year-old woman was in a jewellers in Skibbereen, Co Cork, when she was approached by a stranger, who showed her a brochure and said he was selling power tools.
The OAP told him she had no interest or need for tools but he gave her a number to call — and when she got home, she rang it to reiterate that she wasn’t interested.
But the man she spoke to said they were nearby and minutes later she was alarmed to see a van driving up to her home.
The pensioner told them she would be moving out of her house and she didn’t need anything.
FORCED TO WRITE €25K IN CHEQUES
However, Patrick, 38, “charmed her” with chat about Our Lady of Lourdes as brother Thomas, 39, began carrying boxed chainsaws, power washers, generators and knives into her home.
When Thomas was finished, 12 chainsaws, 11 generators, seven power washers and an assortment of knives and tools were stacked in the elderly woman’s living room.
The men got her to write cheques totalling around €25,000.
She crossed two of them, but the con artist siblings — who each have four children — made her tear them up and rewrite them.
On November 23, 2018, she contacted AIB in Skibbereen.
Two of the cheques, totalling €6,500, had been cashed.
The rest were cancelled by the bank, who advised her to contact gardai.
BROTHERS PLEAD GUILTY
Thomas and Patrick O’Driscoll, both of Rathkeale, Co Limerick, were before Cork Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing today.
They previously pleaded guilty to a charge of deception at Goleen, in West Cork, in November 2018.
In a victim impact statement, the OAP said she was going through “a lot of trauma” at the time and wasn’t in “the proper frame of mind” to deal with the men, who left her “frightened and embarrassed”.
The men paid her €6,000 in compo and lawyers said they each had €4,000 held in relation to their bail, which they instructed be also paid to the woman.
Judge Sean O’Donnabhain described their con as a “phenomenally serious offence”.
He said: “They were overbearing and didn’t give the woman time to breathe much less think.”
He said an aggravating factor was the fact that the men had the pensioner tear up the cheques she had crossed and write them again.
The judge added: “This was an act of complete criminality. Their behaviour was a total invasion of the privacy of the woman.”
Judge O’Donnabhain said there was no proper response other than a custodial sentence and he jailed the men for two years each.
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Following the case, Supt Ronan Kennelly, of Bantry Garda Station, made an appeal to the public to be wary of dodgy tradesmen.
He stressed: “If any cold callers or bogus people come forward they should be reported. It is our resolve to investigate all of these incidents.
“We would urge people to forget about embarrassment, come forward whatever the amount is.”