THREE men who are accused of stealing high value items from local supermarkets have been denied bail, after police raised suspicions they are part of a wider crime gang.
Edvinas Burbulas (25), Edvardas Tutlys (28) and Arunas Slicius (38), all of no fixed abode, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday, via video link from Omagh Police Station, each charged with stealing goods worth over £3,000 from two supermarkets on September 27th. Burbulas and Tutlys also face a further charge of the theft of £980 worth of items from a third supermarket.
The items, which included razor blades and electric toothbrushes, were allegedly stolen from two separate Tesco stores, and an Asda store, although the locations of the stores were not stated.
After receiving reports of the thefts on September 27th, police located and arrested the trio on the M1, having been given the registration number of their car and identifying them through the descriptions given.
An officer told the court the trio allegedly used “distraction techniques” during the alleged thefts.
The officer added police suspected, due to the methods used and the high value nature of the items stolen, the men may be part of “a larger organised crime network” and part of a “wider scheme.” They said police were also investigating “similar” incidents.
They noted none of the men, who all gave ‘no comment’ interviews to police, had provided an address to police, stating they were visiting a friend, and also did not tell police where they were staying. As such, police had been unable to search for and recover the stolen items.
The officer added all three men had criminal convictions in England, where two of them currently live, and police were investigating if they also had records in the South, Lithuania, and wider Europe.
Police objected to the men being released on bail due to the lack of addresses provided, the risk of committing further offences, and the risk of flight.
Defence barrister Craig Patton noted one of the defendants, Burbulas, had a brother living in Portadown, and also stated the men could be in custody for a long time as they wait for the case to come before court, due to the nature of the investigation.
He asked for them to be released on the provision they could find a police-approved address.
District Judge Steven Keown said the men were suspected to be involved in what police believed was “a well organised and large scale operation of high-end thefts.” He noted they had also previously failed to answer bail in England.
Judge Keown refused bail due to the risk of reoffending and the risk of them interfering in the police investigation, noting they were “actively frustrating police” by not giving the address of where they are staying.
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