A seven-hour crime “odyssey”, in which a Limerick gang targeted homes in outlying areas of the city, ended in a chase through fields, a court has heard.
At Limerick Circuit Court, James O’Shea, aged 27, of Anthony’s Lodge, Roo West, Ardnacrusha; Jeffrey Kelly, aged 26, of 31 Willow Grove, Old Cork Rd; and Tony Kelly, aged 26, of 121 O’Malley Park, Southill, pleaded guilty to charges involving theft, burglary, criminal damage, and the illegal taking of a car during the early hours of May 27, 2015.
One couple told the court of their trauma at having over €10,000 worth of property taken from their home as they slept.
As well as jewellery, drink, and over €800 in cash, the gang made off with wedding presents. The only item recovered was a bottle of rum.
In a victim impact statement to the court, the couple said since the raid, their peace of mind had vanished as they fear it could happen again. The woman refuses to stay alone in the house, if her husband is away.
When the criminal trio were confronted as they drove up to another house at Crecora, one of them shouted to a woman in the house: “If ye call the guards, ye will be lucky to have yer house standing tonight.”
The seven-hour crime spree ended near Croom at 7am when they were cornered after a chase by gardaí Alison Carroll and Catherine Mulcahy in a marked car and Detectives Paul Crowley and John Keane in an unmarked car.
The red Seat car the gang stole in the city was abandoned after it got a flat tyre.
Two of the gang tried to escape through fields, but were caught by the detectives in a cattle yard.
During what John O’Sullivan, prosecuting, described as an “odyssey” of crime, the gang started by stealing the car during a burglary in the city.
From there, they moved through a swathe of countryside stretching between Anacotty, Croom, Crecora, and Patrickswell.
As they moved in on a number of houses, they were confronted by the occupants and took off.
Det Garda Crowley said the crime spree had caused a lot of distress in the communities targeted.
He said: “These are quiet, rural areas and would not be used to this carry-on.”
All three men have criminal convictions.
Judge Tom O’Donnell adjourned sentence and remanded all three in custody.
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