A 21-year-old has been charged in connection with a burglary in which a which a widower had a special poem and treasured pictures of his late wife stolen.
Andy Rodgers (54) from Coleraine had spoken last month of his distress over the break-in but also of his relief that the items were recovered within days.
He said the precious family snaps and poignant poetry were of great sentimental value as the prose had been penned by his wife Diane just before she tragically passed away eight years ago from cancer.
The Rodgers’ house at Willowfield Avenue, Coleraine, was targeted in the early hours of April 23 this year just two days before Andy and his daughter Jenna (20) and son Shane (18) were due to have marked what would have been Diane’s 48th birthday.
And with the stress of the break-in hanging over them he said their plans to remember Diane, on April 25 this year were unsettled as at that stage the personal items had not been recovered.
Andy, who is well-known in the north coast area as an Elvis impersonator and is also a part-time chef at Coleraine’s Lodge Hotel, said the stolen poem and photos were all returned on Tuesday April 26.
Police said at the time a 21-year-old man was charged in connection with the burglary and also two other counts of theft in the area and was due to appear in court in May.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court on May 23, Maurice Ayres (21), of Lodge Road, Coleraine, was connected to the charges in his absence. He is charged with burglary of the Rodgers household at Willowfield Avenue from where a tv, school bag and black handbag and also food were stolen.
On the same date he also allegedly had stolen a purse and a bag belonging to a woman and was also accused of the theft of a £100 bicycle from a neighbour of the Rodgers which was allegedly used to make a getaway.
Ayres’ defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said his client was not present in court because he was in hospital with facial injuries.
The case was adjourned to June and District Judge Liam McNally said if there is no further appearance by the accused on that date that in the absence of a medical report an arrest warrant would be issued.