The reptile David Weir allegedly took from its owner a year ago is still missing, a judge was told.
Weir, 30, of Berlin Street, Belfast, faces charges of theft over both alleged offences.
During a High Court bail application prosecutors claimed he targeted a vulnerable homeless man eating a takeaway meal in a city centre alleyway on 2 August.
Crown counsel Kate McKay said: "The injured party said a male approached him and asked if he could borrow his phone to call his girlfriend.
"He perhaps foolishly lent him his phone and the male made off, just walked away."
Weir was detained and searched along with another man a short time later. It was claimed that he had passed the stolen phone on to his accomplice.
Defence counsel Michael Ward accepted the bail application faced serious problems due to issues around an address.
The barrister disclosed that Weir had also appeared by video-link before Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with the theft of a tortoise valued at £250 from its owner in the city last August.
He told Mr Justice Weatherup: "I believe it hasn't been recovered, much to the concern of the deputy district judge.
"He indicated investigations should be made as to its whereabouts."
Bail was refused due to the lack of a suitable address.