Two in court over alleged £20k phone shop raids
An investigation into the organised theft of more than £20,000 worth of stock from phone shops has been widened out to stores across Northern Ireland, the High Court heard today.
Two Romanian men currently face charges linked to stealing sprees at O2 stores in Banbridge and Armagh.
But prosecution counsel revealed that detectives are also now examining a series of further raids.
She said: "There are other investigations ongoing into similar offending at O2 shops in Ballymena, Strabane and Derry."
Details emerged as Iulian Marin, 20, and 18-year-old Alejandro Marcu both failed in new attempts to be released on bail.
They were arrested following three separate incidents between August 31 and September 27.
Marin, of Palmerstown Lodge in Dublin, is charged with all three thefts.
Co-accused Marcu, with an address at Blanchardstown in Dublin, faces a single count of theft.
In one incident, on September 21, four new iPhone 11 models were stolen as the store in Armagh was closing for the day.
Thieves entered and grabbed devices as the shutters were half-way down, according to the prosecution.
Both men were detained after the most recent incident in Banbridge - when £12,000 worth of stock was stolen.
Police have estimated that the total value of items taken across the three raids, including damage to security tags, could be in excess of £25,000.
The court heard Marin has lived in Dublin since the age of four, while Marcu only came to the Republic of Ireland days before the theft he is charged with north of the border.
They have each made admissions in connection with the allegations against them, it was confirmed.
Defence lawyers argued they should be released from custody due to potential delays in the case.
But refusing the applications, Mr Justice Colton ruled: "I do not consider any significant change of circumstances to justify admitting them to bail."
Belfast Telegraph Digital