FOUR men and a woman have appeared at a special court on Saturday charged with the theft of £61,340 from an ATM machine at a filling station at Trory, near Enniskillen.
A fifth man was charged with posessing criminal property.
A police witness told the court she believed the five were part of an organised crime gang, responsible for 40 similar robberies.
She told the court street street lights were turned off round the filling station before the robbery. A manhole was opened to cut telephone wires to prevent alarms going off.
The robbery took place between 1.30am and 5am on Thursday morning. The police witness said at least four people were seen on CCTV and police believe “more people were involved who could not be seen.”
She said that a black Mercedes travelled from Crossgar, Co Down, the home of the defendants, to Irvinestown on Wednesday night. It arrived in Irvinestown at approximately midnight. “Then it left Irvinestown to go back to Crossgar at approximately five am,” she said. It was found at the house where all six defendants lived.
“Cash believed to be in the region of twenty-five thousand pounds was found in the house at various locations, including behing paster and under floorboards,” she said. Tools, walkie-talkie radios and a radio signal blocker were also found. Bank of Ireland £10 and £20 notes similar to those stolen were found on five of the defendants.
The police witness objected to bail. “Police believe the defendants are an organised crime gang responsible for forty similar incidents, with the same modus operandi,” she said. £35,000 in cash taken in the robbery is still missing.
She agreed that none pictured on CCTV resembled Aluas, who is over six feet tall and very heavily built. A solicitor for Anita Petrockci queried whether a woman’s purse containing cash belonged to her.
None of the defendants spoke during the hearing, but listened intently to a Romanian interpreter.
Judge Meehan remanded five of the defendants in custody. They were 35-year-old Constantin Dumitra, 29 year old Milan-Adrian Beidac, 41-year-old Radu Iancu, 32-year-old Leonardo Patravici, and 30-year-old Anita Petrokci, all charged with robbery of the ATM and posessing criminal property. He granted bail to 51-year-old Statche Aluas, charged with posessing criminal property. All six had the same address at Rannoche Close, Crossgar, Co Down. They are to appear at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on August 28th.