Two brothers have been accused of demanding £20,000 from a businessman for the return of their dead son’s stolen passport.
he passport belonging to his son, who tragically lost his battle with cancer, was stolen in a burglary at a business premises in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.
The heartbroken father had asked for the return of the passport on social media. A photocopy of the passport was then sent to the father along with a claim for £20,000.
On Thursday, Shaun Kelly, 33, of Dunmore Street, Coleraine, was remanded in custody at Ballymena Magistrates Court on charges of extortion and handling of stolen goods – a passport.
His brother – Gareth Logan, 35, of the same address – faces the same charges and was remanded in custody at Limavady Magistrates’ Court in Ballymena on Wednesday.
A police officer resisted bail for Kelly, telling Ballymena Magistrates’ Court that in November last year a man broke into his Ballymoney shop and reported a safe containing some “loose change” and the stolen passport. The official said the man’s son “died about five years ago after a battle with cancer” and the passport held “great sentimental value”.
After the victim protested the burglary on social media, a “handwritten” letter was delivered to the man’s wife at her home address on June 11, containing a “color photocopy” of his passport. On June 27, he received a text message warning “20k” that it would be “shredded”.
Police inquired about the number the message came from and CCTV showed a mobile phone being charged at Tesco in Coleraine and police believed the charge was carried out by Gareth Logan.
A search of the man’s address found the stolen passport in a safe along with medication “on behalf of the defendant, Mr Kelly”.
Bail was refused and Kelly was remanded in custody to appear in Coleraine Magistrates’ Court on August 15.
The court heard that Gareth Logan’s case was adjourned to Antrim Magistrates’ Court on August 2.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/two-brothers-accused-of-demanding-20k-for-dead-sons-stolen-passport-41882081.html Two brothers accused of ‘claiming £20,000 for dead son’s stolen passport’