Belfast Telegraph

Man who went on Belfast city centre break-in rampage jailed

By Alan Erwin

A man who went on a rampage of vehicle and office break-ins across Belfast city centre was imprisoned for ten months today.

John McMahon stole designer sunglasses and more than £200 in cash from one of eight cars damaged in hammer attacks in the Cathedral Quarter.

Prosecutors said the 20-year-old also smashed windows at the Ulster Youth Orchestra and Educational Shakespeare Company after targeting an office block on Royal Avenue.

That outbreak of vandalism and theft all took place in the early hours of New Year's Day 12 months ago.

McMahon, from Antrim Road in Belfast, faced 12 counts of criminal damage, five of interfering with vehicles, and three thefts from vehicles.

He was also dealt with for a series of separate break-ins and burglaries at offices in Belfast between December 2013 and April 2014.

The charge sheet included raiding a solicitor's firm, stealing laptops and cash from a recruitment company, taking a computer from Environmental Health premises and a mobile phone and money from the Children's Law Centre.

A previous court heard how the case against him over the New Year's Day incidents involved CCTV footage and DNA from blood found at the scene of some of the incidents.

McMahon first tried to break into a building opposite the Yorkgate shopping centre. 

Windows were then smashed on eight vehicles parked on Gordon Street and Academy Street.

The intruder rummaged through glove boxes, stealing cash and a pair of Rayban sunglasses from a BMW.

McMahon was said to have been captured on CCTV stopping to put on the sunglasses.

A further break-in occurred a short time later at the Royal Avenue complex.

A fire extinguisher was used to smash the window on the door to the Educational Shakespeare Company's offices.

The prosecution said further footage showed McMahon walking around inside before entering a lift carrying a laptop bag.

A claw-hammer and pair of sunglasses were found close to a smashed window.

McMahon was sentenced for all of the offences at Belfast Magistrates' Court today.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall ordered him to serve a total of ten months at the Young Offenders' Centre.

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