ATM engineer convicted of £26,000 theft

Court image.
Court image.

An ATM engineer who bought himself a new sports car just days after emptying a cash dispenser of over £26,000 has been jailed after being convicted of theft and money laundering.

It had taken the Belfast Crown Court jury of six men and five women three hours deliberation over two days to unanimously convict 44-year-old Darren Cooper of the nine charges he’d denied.

Afterwards Belfast Recorder, Judge David McFarland said since Cooper’s crimes involved a serious breach of trust he should be remanded into custody now before his formal sentencing next month.

The ATM engineer from Glenisland Terrace in Carrickfergus, had denied the theft of £26,760 from a dispenser at the Spar store in Drumaness, Co Down, laundering the stolen cash and perverting justice by getting a businessman to provide a false statement to police, stating he loaned him £19,000.

During his five-day trial, prosecution counsel Sam Magee told the court that Cooper was employed as an engineer for the RMS Group - the company responsible for maintaining and stocking ATMs across Northern Ireland.

On December 16, 2016, other staff from RMS filled the Spar ATM with more than £26,000 in both £10 and £20 notes.

Three days later, Cooper was tasked to attend a faulty ATM in ‘area 2’ which covered Drumaness.

Cooper used the trip to stop off at the Spar and empty the ATM, and the following day, December 20, “bought himself an early Christmas present.”

Mr Magee said Cooper, told the car salesman he had £20,000 in his carrier bag, £14,500 of which, together with his own VW Golf, he exchanged for a new Ford Eco Sports car.

The court also heard that he also deposited £11,000 in his own bank account the following day, December 21st, later transferring £6,000 to a loan company two days later.