Four Belfast men were remanded into custody on Saturday accused of an early morning crime spree spread across Co Antrim.
A detective constable told Belfast Magistrates’ Court she believed she could connect all four, 31-year-old Kevin Brady, Sean McCann, 25, 26-year-old Joseph McDonnell and Martin Ferguson, 22, to the charges they face.
Brady, from Marsden Terrace, McCann, from Cuchulainn House, McDonnell, from Cedar Avenue, and Ferguson, from Henderson Avenue, are all jointly charged with three burglaries at houses in Belfast, Newtownabbey and Jordanstown on Friday where they allegedly stole car keys to a Seat Leon, a TV, bottles of alcohol and a Playstation 4 with assorted games.
While Brady is charged with stealing the Seat Leon and driving it dangerously on the Ballyrobin Road in Templepatrick, the other three are all charged with allowing themselves to be carried in a stolen car.
Brady and McDonnell are also jointly charged with two aggravated burglaries at houses on the Carmavy Road and Lisnataylor Roads in Crumlin and Nutts Corner when they were allegedly armed with knives and stole a Honda CRV jeep along with legal documents, £300 in cash, a laptop and handbag.
Brady is further charged with driving the stolen jeep dangerously on Ballysillan Park in north Belfast and four counts of aggravated vehicle theft in relation to the stolen jeep causing damage to other cars and police vehicles.
The detective constable outlined how the alleged spree started just before 4am when the Seat Leon car was stolen from the house at Summerhill Court and then an hour later, police responded to a report that a householder at Whitehouse Park had disturbed a burglar climbing through an open window and that he ran off and was seen to drive away in a black Seat Leon car which had three other men in it.
Half an hour after that, she told the court, three men fled in a similar car after they were disturbed at a house on Hawthorne Drive in Carrickfergus and then at 7.45am, a family awoke to find that their home in Jordanstown had been broken into with the culprits having stolen a TV, Playstation, games, DVDs and bottles of alcohol including champagne.
The officer said that just after 6am traffic cops spotted the stolen Leon in north Belfast and began a high speed pursuit up the motorway with various items including bottles of booze being thrown out of the speeding car.
That pursuit ended at Nutts Corner when the driver and front seat passenger, allegedly Brady and McDonnell, fled across fields on foot and climbed over wire fences to make good their escape but officers were able to arrest Ferguson and McCann who were allegedly in the back seat, the court heard.
The stolen TV and Playstation were recovered from the car.