Three men and two juveniles have been charged in connection with a daytime burglary in Bandon last Friday, in which gardaí claim the men specifically targeted a house and were caught “red-handed”.
The three men and two teenagers appeared before Judge James McNulty at Bandon District Court, with one telling the judge in court he was admitting his role.
Gardaí allege that the group of five males travelled from Tipperary last Friday to a property in Bandon in Co. Cork with the specific target of committing burglary, based on the belief there was a large amount of money inside.
The court heard that gardaí found a receipt showing the car carrying the group, a high-powered Audi A3, had stopped to refuel in Cashel last Friday. That vehicle was then parked outside the house on Watergate St in Bandon last Friday for around 40 minutes, the judge was told, before gardaí observed some of the males leaving the property and another in the driver's seat of the vehicle.
Larry O’Connor, aged 32 and of 174 An Duiche, Scalaheen in Tipperary Town faces three charges, of burglary, possession of articles contrary to section 1 and 5 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, and production of an article, a crow bar.
Patrick Harty, aged 27 and of Mountain View, Bansha Road in Tipperary town, was charged with burglary and possession of articles.
Jimmy Connors, of 11B Bank Place in Tipperary town, and aged 20, faces charges of burglary, possession of articles and of dangerous driving and of driving with no insurance.
Two juveniles, one living in Cork City and the other in Limerick, each face charges of burglary and possession of articles.
Gardaí objected to bail with regard to the three adults and Det. Sgt Andrew Lyons outlined the reasons to Judge McNulty.
The court heard that to one of the charges, Larry O’Connor told gardaí: “I will plead to this charge on Friday.” He made no reply to another charge and to the last charge, of using a crow bar, he had said to gardaí: “When I came out of the house I put my hands up to the law. I thrown the bar to the ground beside the ditch, I threw it away from me. I wasn’t threatening anyone.”
Det. Sgt Lyons said the seriousness of the offence and the nature of the evidence was behind the objection to bail.
He told the judge that Larry O’Connor was seen exiting the property through the front door, holding a crow bar. The house has been the scene of a burglary and Det. Sgt Lyons said gardaí believed Mr O’Connor had travelled from Tipperary for the sole purpose of carrying out a burglary, alongside four other people, including two juveniles.
He referred to the fuel stop in Cashel last Friday and gardaí observing him leaving the property. Det. Sgt Lyons said false Limerick registration plates had been fixed to the Audi A3, with the real UK plates found in the vehicle. The court heard a car matching the same description and licence plates is currently listed for sale on DoneDeal.
The court also heard articles found included Dettol multi-surface spray, which Det. Garda Lyons said gardaí believe was used to disinfect crime scenes of forensic evidence and which he said was an MO in recent burglaries. Gloves and a screwdriver were among other items seized by gardaí.
The court heard CCTV showed the group in the area around the property for 40 minutes.
Regarding Larry O’Connor, the court heard he had a history of previous bench warrants. Det. Sgt Lyons said on leaving the property, Mr O’Connor attempted to flee the scene and attempted to strike gardaí with the crow bar.
His solicitor, Ray Hennessy, got confirmation from Det. Sgt Lyons that Mr O’Connor had never been convicted on failing to appear in court and said his client had two young children, one of whom is a regular patient at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
Speaking to the Judge, Larry O’Connor said: “On the day it just went out of hand.” He said he was offering “a big apology” and that he needed to be released on bail to be with his children. “I admitted to the burglary, Judge,” he said. “I am not denying nothing.”
The judge refused him bail on the grounds provided, and also denied bail for Patrick Harty and Jimmy Connors.
Similar evidence was produced in objecting to bail for Mr Harty and Mr Connors. Det. Sgt Lyons alleged Mr Harty was seen leaving the property in Bandon through a window and that he had been wearing gloves and a snood. The court heard that following his arrest he was questioned at Templemore Garda Station, where he admitted to gardaí that he had participated in the burglary.
The court heard he had a history of bench warrants and two convictions for failing to appear in court.
His solicitor, Myra Dinneen, said her client had depression and that this accounted for some of the bench warrants, and that Mr Harty was a father of three.
The court heard Jimmy Connors made no reply when he was charged at Thurles Garda Station. Det. Sgt Lyons told the court he had been in the driver's seat of the car parked outside the property in Bandon, with a male juvenile seated in the rear. The other juvenile is alleged to have been in the house.
The court heard that Mr Connors tried to drive away and that a patrol car had to be manoeuvred to prevent his escape. Mr Connors was wearing gloves, a snood and a baseball cap at the time. He also has a history of previous bench warrants and the court heard he had one young child.
Legal aid was granted for all five co-accused.
The two teenagers, who the judge heard made no reply to the charges, were granted bail, on conditions, which include remaining out of counties Cork and Tipperary, observing a curfew from 10pm to 8am and signing on daily at their local Garda station, and having no contact with witnesses or any co-accused, and residing at a named address.
Mr Harty, Mr O’Connor and Mr Connors were all remanded in custody and all five co-accused will appear again before Bandon District Court next Monday, January 31, at 2pm. The court heard other charges may follow.