Belfast Telegraph

Charity box thief claimed he was playing online game

The case first reached Dungannon Magistrates Court in May, but he did not attend and an arrest warrant was issued (stock photo)
The case first reached Dungannon Magistrates Court in May, but he did not attend and an arrest warrant was issued (stock photo)

By Staff Reporter

A thief who stole a cancer charity collection box claimed it was a quest to be arrested to gain points in an online game.

Andrea Zecchin (35), from Derramore Way, Cookstown stole the Marie Curie charity box on March 20.

The case first reached Dungannon Magistrates Court in May, but he did not attend and an arrest warrant was issued.

He was finally traced last month and brought to court where the charge was accepted.

District Judge John Meehan asked why there had been no appearance beforehand and was told by the defence: "My client was confused with dates." Judge Meehan branded this "total nonsense".

The court heard that police were called to a Cookstown bar after the Marie Curie collection box was noted to be missing.

CCTV showed Zecchin place the box under his jacket and walk out. He left a black wallet on the bar from which police established his identity.

After his arrest Zecchin made a full admission, claiming to have been playing an online game, which required him to get arrested to score extra points. He claimed that was why he stole the charity box and contents of around £12, none of which was ever recovered.

Imposing a sentence of two months' imprisonment, Judge Meehan also ordered Zecchin to pay £75 to Marie Curie Cancer Care, given, "he never volunteered any of the contents afterwards".

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