Two suspected burglars allegedly caught red-handed inside a Birkirkara commercial establishment on Wednesday were remanded in custody upon their arraignment on Friday.
Tristan Farrugia Tedesco, 25, and Jeremy James Farrugia, 37, both unemployed and both residing in Birkirkara, pleaded not guilty to a raft of charges allegedly linking them to the incident after one of them was sniffed out by a police dog as he hid above a false ceiling.
Investigations kicked off early on Wednesday’s public holiday at around 8am when the police were alerted to a suspected robbery taking place inside a three-storey commercial establishment in Triq il-Wied.
Arriving on site, the police noticed that the glass door at the rear of the building was smashed and that there was someone on the roof.
The officers called for reinforcements and soon, officers from various police squads entered the building, searching each room as they worked their way from one storey to the next.
At level three, the search party heard noises and spotted footprints leading to the toilets.
The door to the toilet was locked on the inside and there was clearly someone inside.
But all attempts to communicate with the person inside, proved futile and ultimately, the police had to break down the door.
That was when the first suspect was arrested.
Suspecting that the man was not alone, the police checked CCTV footage which confirmed that suspicion.
The search continued until a police dog led to the discovery of the second suspect, hiding above a false ceiling.
Both men were arrested and escorted to court on Friday, jointly charged with stealing cash and other items, willfully damaging third-party property as well as being found in possession of psychotropic drugs.
Farrugia Tedesco was separately charged with violently resisting arrest and threatening a police officer in the course of his duties.
He was also charged with driving a Skoda Felicia on September 10 at Birkirkara without being in possession of a driving licence and valid insurance cover.
He was further charged with stealing a Peugeot vehicle from Birkirkara two days before his arrest.
In July, Farrugia Tedesco was granted bail by the Criminal Court in separate proceedings.
On Friday, he was also charged with breaching those bail conditions, relapsing and committing the alleged offences during the operative term of a suspended sentence given in 2018.
The other co-accused was separately charged over another aggravated theft of cash in June.
Two days before the arrests, Farrugia allegedly stole a Toyota vehicle from the vicinity of Mount Carmel Hospital and then drove it without a licnence and insurance cover.
He was also charged with failing to obey legitimate police orders and relapsing.
Both pleaded not guilty.
A request for bail was objected to since there was a substantial number of civilian witnesses to testify and also in view of the nature of the charges.
Moreover, both co-accused were unemployed and both needed help to tackle their drug problem, argued prosecuting Inspector Ritienne Gauci.
The defence countered that the accused were presumed innocent at this stage.
After hearing submissions, the court, presided over by magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace, turned down the request.
Inspector Andrew Agius also prosecuted. Lawyer Cynthia Tomasuolo was legal aid counsel.