Apr 25 2012 by Gordon Robertson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Airdrie Sheriff Court
A MAN who stole a £48,000 car and drove it dangerously around Airdrie has been jailed for eight months.
Christopher O’Keefe (24), of Whinhall Road, stole the Range Rover Sport from a Motherwell car dealership.
In Thrashbush Quadrant and other streets, he drove the top-of-the-range motor while it was on its wheel rims.
At Airdrie Sheriff Court last Wednesday, fiscal depute Jennifer Bairner said: “The two offside wheels had virtually no tyres left on them.”
She added: “The accused was seen striking a kerb. The vehicle was in such a dangerous condition it was uncontrollable.”
O’Keefe, together with another man, stole the Range Rover from Taggarts Motor Group in Motherwell on February 27 last year.
The vehicle had been brought into the Windmillhill Street dealership to have a faulty tyre repaired.
The accused was seen on CCTV stealing the keys from the reception desk at about 1.40pm.
At 10pm that day, an off-duty police officer saw the accused driving the car in the Thrashbush area and reported the incident.
Defence agent David Nightingale argued that his client had control of the vehicle despite its condition.
He said: “It caught the attention of the police officers because of the noise the vehicle was making, a grating noise, and not because of dangerous driving.”
Mr Nightingale went on to talk about a “flurry of offending” at the time by O’Keefe, who was struggling to cope with personal problems. The theft of the car had been an “impulse” and opportunistic.
O’Keefe pleaded guilty to two charges, one of theft and one of driving dangerously. The offences were committed while he was on bail.
Mr Nightingale asked Sheriff Petra Collins to allow his client to continue serving a community payback order he had been placed on for another offence
However, Sheriff Collins sentenced a stunned-looking O’Keefe to eight months in prison, two months of which were due to the breach of bail.
He was also banned from driving for two years and told he must sit the extended driving test.