Police charge woman with distraction burglaries

May 3, 2016

A woman has been charged in connection with a number of distraction type burglaries which took place across south Armagh last week. The charges were made as concerns were raised amongst the general community in light of a spate of incidents where thieves have forced their way into homes while the occupants were present.

In a recent burglary in Dromintee, thieves entered a house via the back door and stole a handbag while the residents sat in their living room. A vehicle was seen leaving the area and the discarded handbag was found two miles away shortly afterwards. The incident prompted Slieve Gullion Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Larkin to call for vigilance within the community.

Mr Larkin urged residents to increase security at their homes and be aware of unfamiliar cars and people in the area. The theft followed a number of reports of suspicious activity at several properties during the past week.

Intruders fled when challenged during the early hours of the morning at two other homes and police have also visited local business people to warn that they may be the target of criminal gangs operating in the area

In the latest disturbing incident, a Belleek pensioner was left badly shaken after intruders entered her home under the guise of needing a glass of water for a young boy who was feeling unwell. At approximately 7.30pm last Tuesday evening the elderly woman heard someone in the hallway of her property. On checking, she found an adult female and a young boy in her house. The woman claimed that the young boy was ill and asked for a glass of water. The lady asked them to step outside of the house whilst she went into the kitchen. However, when she returned the two intruders were back in the hallway. She escorted the pair from her premises, where it is believed they got into a grey car which was waiting in the estate. The car subsequently left the area.

The woman is described as being between 45 to 50 years of age, approximately 5 foot to 5 foot 2 inches tall, of medium build, with blonde or fair hair tied up in a bun.  She was wearing a grey dress with a pattern on it. The dress had a belt around the waist.

The young boy is described as being approximately 14 or 15 years of age with short fair hair, very slim build and wearing a red hoodie.

Detectives from Reactive and Organised Crime Branch in Newry revealed that a 43 year old woman has been charged in connection with the distraction type burglary in Belleek, along with a number of other offences, including a similar burglary in the Art McCooey Park area of Crossmaglen last Thursday and an attempted burglary in the Castleblaney Street area of Newtownhamilton which also took place on Thursday last.

In total the woman has been charged with 2 counts of burglary, attempted burglary, and a number of motoring offences. She is expected to appear before Newry Magistrates Court today (Monday 2nd May.) May.

Police continue to appeal to anyone with any information about distraction burglaries in the south Armagh area to contact them in Newry on 101. They are particularly keen to speak with anyone who noticed any suspicious females calling at houses in the area trying door handles..