Pair jailed over £26,000 clothes shop ram raid theft

Court
Court

A Crown Court judge sent two males to jail for the roles they played in a “series of burglaries, thefts and aggravated driving offences” which included a ram raid.

The pair – a 26-year-old man and a youth – were told their actions in the early hours of September 26, 2015 put members of the public at risk.

While Patrick O’Rawe, from Albert Street in Belfast, was handed a 13-and-a-half month sentence, his co-accused was given three years.

Belfast Crown Court heard the duo were part of a four-man gang involved in the crime spree.

Events unfolded when two cars were stolen during a break-in at a house in Holywood – although there was no evidence that the pair were involved.

However, the two stolen cars – a Ford Puma and a Ford Focus – were involved a short time later in a ram raid on a clothes shop in the Lisburn Road area of Belfast.

The Puma rammed the shop window and four men were seen running from the premises carrying armfuls of clothing. Garments amounting to £26,000 were taken during the burglary, none of which were recovered or fit for resale.

The gang left the Puma at the scene and fled in the stolen Focus which was driven by O’Rawe. Not long after the ram raid, the Focus collided with another vehicle on the Cliftonville Road, which ended up on its roof.

A prosecutor told the court that the driver of the second vehicle sustained serious injuries in the early morning smash.

O’Rawe – who fled the scene – was arrested after his blood was recovered from the airbag of the Focus.

The youth was arrested close to the scene and was linked to the break-in after a fragment of glass found on his clothing matched the glass from the window of the clothes shop.

O’Rawe - who has 84 previous convictions – admitted being the driver of the Focus and later admitted offences including aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to another vehicle, and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

The youth, who has amassed 39 convictions, admitted being a passenger in both stolen cars, and of breaking into the clothes shop.