A TEENAGER has admitted a charge of theft of a Rotary watch worth £239 from Adair’s jewellers in Ballymena town centre in connection with a high-profile incident when footage was shared on social media of a chase in the Broadway area of the town.
At Ballymena Magistrates Court, sitting in Antrim, this week, Curtis Dunlop (18), of Pinegrove Park in Ballymena, admitted theft of a watch on June 20 this year.
He denies a charge relating to the same date that he was in possession of an offensive weapon – a bottle containing suspected ammonia – with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.
The defendant has also pleaded not guilty to a charge that he burgled a house at Tardree Grove in Ballymena on April 20 this year with intent to steal.
The cases have been adjourned to November 12 to fix a date for a contest.
A defence lawyer said the situation surrounding the ‘ammonia’ charge “might benefit” from discussions between the defence and prosecutors.
An earlier court hearing heard it alleged two men targeted Robin Adair Jewellers in June this year and that Dunlop was allegedly carrying a bottle of what was suspected to be ammonia and asked to try on a watch.
He then ran out of the shop with the watch but was apprehended by a member of the public, according to police.
Footage had also emerged on social media of a second raider apparently running from the shop carrying a tray.
Opposing Dunlop’s application for bail at an earlier hearing, a PSNI constable expressed concern about the suspected ammonia.
She confirmed, however, that the liquid was never brandished inside the jewellers.
Also at the earlier court, a defence solicitor insisted the bottle had been placed on the ground with no attempt to threaten staff.
The solicitor had said: “He says he was placed under duress by an older individual… and was given the glass jar containing ammonia shortly before they went into the shop.”
At the court in the summer District Judge Mark Hamill described the alleged possession of ammonia as “deeply concerning”.