Gardaí find burglars by tracking iPhone

Wed, Oct 10, 2012, 01:00

GARDAÍ USED the tracking software on a stolen iPhone to find burglars driving a stolen car, a court has heard.

Kildare man James Farrelly (19) was one of three men caught “red-handed” by gardaí after the burglars had stopped the car to go through their stolen haul.

The group then led gardaí on a high-speed chase which ended only after local gardaí in Tankardstown, Co Meath, put a “stinger” device across a road to deflate the tyres of their car.

Det Sgt Paul Tallan told Noel Devitt, prosecuting, that the three burglars ran into nearby fields. He said he arrested Farrelly in a ditch after the Garda helicopter had being deployed.

Farrelly, of Riverside Park, Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Hadleigh Green, Castleknock, Dublin, on January 7th, 2012.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing two bicycles from PJ Fogarty at Stockton Green, Castleknock, on the same date.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to three years in prison but suspended the last two years for a period of two years.

Det Sgt Tallan told the court that Farrelly and two other men stole the bikes first and used them to cycle to the home of Paul Heffernan at Hadleigh Green.

They forced their way into Mr Heffernan’s home and took the keys to his Mercedes. They also stole a handbag, an iPhone and an iPad. When Mr Heffernan returned home he raised the alarm and gardaí used the iPhone’s GPS software to track the burglars to Meath.

The court heard Farrelly has 46 previous convictions, including two for burglary and being a passenger in a stolen car. At the time of this offence he was on bail.

Kitty Perle, defending, said Farrelly had suffered a harrowing level of abuse as a child. This abuse had led to the criminal prosecution of his mother’s former partner.

She added that a psychiatrist said Farrelly’s position in life is linked to this abusive childhood.

The judge noted this but said Farrelly had become a menace to society.