Hapless thief's getaway bid in broken down bus
A teenager grabbed £2,500 in cash from a bank customer and then tried to escape on a bus by bribing a driver – only to be told that the vehicle had broken down.
John Timpson (19), from Jefferson Court in Londonderry, has been in custody since he stole the money last January.
A prosecution solicitor told Deputy District Judge Oonagh Mullan that Timpson went into the Danske Bank branch in Shipquay Place in the city centre just before 11am on January 17.
He was recorded on CCTV taking his place in a queue and talking into his mobile phone, while observing a customer in another queue cashing two cheques for £2,500.
When the customer left the bank with the money inside an envelope Timpson followed him.
As the customer walked into nearby Waterloo Place, Timpson was recorded on city centre CCTV cameras running from behind the male customer, grabbing the envelope and fleeing in the direction of the bus depot at Foyle Street.
"There he boarded a bus at the Ulsterbus depot and offered the driver £20 to drive him to Omagh," the prosecutor said.
"However, the driver told Timpson that the bus had earlier broken down," the solicitor added.
Timpson then got off the bus and ran away, but left his jumper behind.
The jumper was forensically examined and Timpson's DNA was found on it.
The police then searched Timpson's Jefferson Court flat and inside they found notes relating to the theft.
The notes also revealed that Timpson planned to bring a change of clothes with him on the day of the theft and to put on false tattoos in a bid to conceal his identity.
He'd also written down an escape route and a prepared alibi.
Defence counsel Mark Reel said Timpson, who admitted the theft, told the police "he had a complete memory blank of the incident because of his mental health issues".
The barrister said Timpson thought it was a glamorous way to obtain a substantial amount of cash.
"Instead, the reality is it was naivety, which resulted in him having to endure a difficult six months in custody," he said.
The money was never recovered and Ms Mullan described Timpson's offending as both premeditated and opportunistic.
"I read in the pre-sentence report that your motivation was to purchase alcohol and illegal substances for both yourself and your peer group," she said.
The Deputy District Judge jailed Timpson for eight months.