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Alleged car thief linked to Belfast break-ins acted as 'one-man crimewave'

An alleged thief linked to a dozen car break-ins across parts of Belfast acted as a "one-man crimewave", the High Court heard today.

Tomas Bagdzius, 30, used a stolen mountain bike to get around the southeast of the city where all of the raids were carried out, prosecutors said.

The Lithuanian national, with an address at Railway Street, Donaghadee, Co Down, is charged with 12 counts of handling stolen goods.

He is further accused of theft, criminal damage, attempted fraud by false representation and going equipped for theft.

Police are also now seeking to establish whether Bagdzius can be linked to other thefts from cars in the area.

He was first arrested last September after the window of an Audi A3 parked at Cranmore Avenue was smashed and handbags and bank cards stolen.

Bagdzius was detained at a nearby bank ATM machine and later released on police bail.

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He was stopped again in November while cycling slowly in the Malone area. A screwdriver was discovered under the bike's saddle.

Searches then carried out at his home recovered a large quantity of suspected stolen goods. They included handbags, purses, makeup bags and store cards.

Prosecution counsel Conor Maguire said the items had been stolen in a series of thefts from cars throughout October and November.

He detailed a series of break-ins carried out across southeast Belfast.

"Even the equipment he uses to assist him in the offending is stolen. That's the bicycle," Mr Maguire said.

A forensic link has also now been obtained with the first theft from the Audi.

Michael Boyd, defending, told Mr Justice Horner that Bagdzius would be accepting his guilt.

His client came to Northern Ireland four years ago and worked in a scrapyard business until it went bankrupt last year.

"That appears to fit in conveniently with the prolific list of offending your lordship has heard about," Mr Boyd said.

Seeking bail, the barrister stressed that no further crimes have been committed since November.

The application was refused, however, due to the risk of re-offending.

Mr Justice Horner said: "He appears to have committed a one-man crimewave in respect of southeast Belfast."

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