Two caught red-handed while shoplifting from St Julian’s supermarket

Two men behind string of thefts caught shoplifting from St Julian’s supermarket by the police

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

Two shoplifters who tried to leave a supermarket without paying for items they had stuffed in their jackets have been sentenced to imprisonment for three months after pleading guilty.

Inspector Zachary Zammit arraigned two men, Fatah Mohammaed Hassan, 39, and 32-year-old Yonathan Esseyas Afewerki from Somalia and Eritrea respectively, before magistrate Monica Vella this afternoon. 

The men, who the court was told have no fixed address, were charged with the simple theft of food and drink items and vagrancy. Hassan alone was also charged with recidivism.

Inspector Zammit explained that staff at the St. Julians supermarket had called the police after seeing the men taking items off the shelves and placing them in their jacket pockets.

Police officers followed the men and arrested them, finding the stolen items to have been hastily concealed inside their jackets.

Lawyer Victor Bugeja, appointed by the court to represent the men as legal aid, informed the court that the men were pleading guilty. However, pointing out that the prosecution had not exhibited a copy of the judgement relating to Hassan’s previous conviction as evidence supporting the recidivism charge, Bugeja informed the court that the men’s admission of guilt did not extend to recidivism.

Asked by the court what they were pleading, the men confirmed their guilty pleas.

In his submissions on punishment Bugeja told the court that the men had cooperated fully with the police investigation and that this was reflected in their statement. Inspector Zammit confirmed this assertion. On account of their admission and cooperation, they merited mitigation in punishment, Bugeja said, adding that they should be treated as first-time offenders. Inspector Zammit asked the court to impose a punishment which reflected the crime.

“We are ashamed of it,” one of the accused interjected, as the inspector finished speaking.

Finding them guilty on their own admission, the court sentenced both of the men to imprisonment for 3 months. Bugeja gave leave of appeal.

The police had received information on two men who were behind a number of thefts from a supermarket in Triq Gort.

On Wednesday, at around 5:30pm, the police received a tipoff that the two men behind the thefts were back at the supermarket they had stolen from before.

The police followed them inside and noticed them putting items inside their jacket pockets. They were approached, stopped and a search was carried out.

The two men, a 39-year-old Somali man who resides in Munxar, and a 32-year-old Eritrean man who resides in Gzira, were subsequently arrested and taken to the Floriana lockup.