PENSIONERS and farmers’ wives were terrorised when three men embarked on a crime spree across large parts of County Limerick, it has been alleged.
The three defendants, who are all aged in their 20s, face multiple charges relating to offences which are alleged to have happened on May 26 and May 27, last.
One of the defendants - James O’Shea, aged 26, of Roo West, Ardnacrusha - sought bail this Tuesday after a book of evidence was served on him and the matter sent forward for trial at the circuit court.
Objecting to bail, Detective Garda Paul Crowley said it will be alleged by the State that a number of private homes were broken into during the crime spree. Most of the properties were occupied at the time, he said.
Limerick District Court was told several items of property and a 04D-registered car were stolen from a house at Sarsfield Court, Edward Street in the early hours of May 27 and that the car was then used by the culprits as they travelled to towns and villages across Limerick.
It is alleged the defendant and two other men were captured on CCTV at a service station on the outskirts of the city at 4.50am where they bought sandwiches and snacks.It is alleged all three then travelled to Willow Crescent, Annacotty, where a house was entered at 5.10am.
Det Garda Crowley said it will be alleged that a large amount of property was stolen from the house and that the defendant was seen running away from the house after the occupant was alerted to the presence of intruders when he was awoken.
In another incident at 6.15am, the occupants of a house at Bellwood, Ballyneety were awoken when intruders entered the house and took a set of keys for a car, which was parked outside. The occupant of the house were alerted when the culprits tried to start the car.
Another house was targeted at Kilderry, Crecora at 7am where two petrol canisters were stolen. A short time later, at 7.15, two cars were broken into outside a house at Ballycahane, Croom.
Detective Garda Crowley said the stolen Seat Leon car was located by gardai at around 7.30am and that Mr O’Shea was apprehended while still in the vehicle.
He alleged he was “extremely violent” when arrested and that he damaged the inside of the garda car by spitting blood and kicking the dashboard.
A copper cylinder, which was stolen from a house at Old Cork Road the previous day was found in the vehicle.
Det Garda Crowley said the owners of the houses which were targeted included elderly women and farmers’ wives and that they were very distressed and upset following the burglaries.
He said he believed the defendant would commit “further serious offences” if granted bail and that he had concerns he would not attend court or abide by any bail conditions.
Being cross-examined by solicitor Tom Kiely, the detective accepted that most of the stolen property was recovered by gardai and that his client “fully cooperated” while in garda custody.
Mr Kiely said his client, who has led a “chaotic lifestyle” in the past would live with his parents if released and that there is an offer of employment from a waste disposal company.
He said Mr O’Shea “realises what’s facing him” and that he did not believe there was a risk of him failing to appear in court if released.
Noting the seriousness of the alleged offences and the concerns of gardai, Judge O’Leary refused bail.
Mr O’Shea and another man are expected to appear before the circuit court later this week while the book of evidence is due to be served on the third accused next week.