A man charged in connection with the robbery of a French Bulldog in Cork where the owner was threatened with a hammer was "caught red-handed" with the animal on CCTV footage captured at his own home, gardai have claimed.
Father of four Michael Molloy of Ard Fail, Cul Ard in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork appeared before Cork District Court where he was charged in connection with the theft of the dog in the city on April 11th last.
Det Garda Brian Murphy said the victim in the case was walking his dog at 4.30pm on April 11th when a Ford Focus car pulled up alongside him on Ballincollie Road in Ballyvolane in Cork city.
He told the court that a man exited the rear of the vehicle with a hammer swinging it at the owner two or three times before taking the dog. Det Garda Murphy said that the incident occurred in broad daylight in front of other members of the public.
Det Garda Murphy said the victim in the case was able to make out a partial registration for the Ford Focus which was later found abandoned at the Exchange Business Park in Churchfield on the northside of the city.
CCTV showed three men getting out of the car with the dog. Gardai claim that 28-year-old Michael Molloy was one of the men in the footage.
Det Garda Murphy said that he arrested Mr Molloy in connection with the offence on April 19th. He was subsequently charged with the robbery of the dog at Mayfield Garda Station in Cork. He made no reply when the charge was put to him under caution.
Det Garda Brian Murphy said that gardai were objecting to bail arising out of the seriousness of the charge. He stressed that gardaí had very strong evidence against Mr Molloy.
He told the court that on the night of the offence gardaí contacted Mr Molloy and he handed over the dog. The court heard that the story of the missing dog had been "all over TV and radio" and that Mr Molloy "knew that the game was up".
Det Garda Murphy said that Mr Molloy had high quality CCTV footage in his own house which they accessed. This they claim showed Molloy covering the dog with a blanket in a car and bolting in to his house. The dog gardaí allege was taken out of Molloy’s own car.
Dt Garda Murphy said that the dog owner was very attached to his animal.
"The injured party describes the dog as not just his property but as being like a child. He said his world was ripped away from him. He was not sure he was going to get his family pet back."
Shane Collins Daly, solicitor for the defence, said that his client completely refuted suggestions that he had stolen the dog. Det Garda Murphy said that the CCTV from the home of the defendant "couldn't have been clearer" and that it was the case of the State that he "orchestrated the robbery".
Mr Collins Daly said that his client lived with his partner and four children. He told the court that Molloy had worked in construction until Christmas. However, he was furloughed and is now in receipt of the PUP payment.
Mr Molloy took to the stand where he said that was willing to obey any bail conditions set down by the court. He said he was the carer for his sick wife and denied any involvement in the robbery.
He denied that the Ford Focus car found abandoned was his, saying that he had sold it earlier that day. He claimed he hadn’t transferred ownership of the vehicle because he was being paid on a weekly basis.
He insisted that there was no dog in the CCTV captured at his home and said he was carrying a bundle of clothes from the car not a blanket.
Sgt John Kelleher then asked why Molloy bolted to his door from the car. He asked "were you in a hurry to wash the clothes?"
Judge Olann Kelleher declined to grant bail in the case. He remanded Mr Molloy in custody until his next court appearance on May 27th next.