Burglar who stole €10,000 worth of jewellery jailed for five years

Man jailed for five years stealing jewellery worth thousands of euros from an apartment in 2017

File photo
File photo

A burglar has been jailed for five years after being convicted of stealing jewellery worth thousands of euros from an apartment in 2017.

Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace found Aaron Steven Stewart Edward Ritchie, who turns 39 years old on Friday, guilty of burglarising a Paola apartment on Boxing Day 2017, stealing thousands of euros worth of jewellery and designer items. Ritchie is well known to the police. 

The court had heard how the victim had noticed missing valuables after arriving home from abroad and had called the police. 

She had also provided the police with a copy of crucial CCTV footage recorded on a security camera installed at the entrance to her apartment.

The footage had been examined by experts as part of the magisterial inquiry into the crime. Ritchie was subsequently recognised by both the police and the victim from the videos and stills, thanks to a distinctive facial piercing and a tattoo on his hand.

The victim had told the court that some of the stolen items held sentimental value, in particular a gold chain necklace that had belonged to her late father.

She had returned to Malta on 27 December 2017, after celebrating her daughter's birthday in London. Upon entering her home, she had not initially noticed that she had been robbed, observing that "everything was in order - everything was stowed as it should be."

But after putting her young daughter to bed at around 1:30am, the woman noticed a designer handbag missing from her walk-in wardrobe and one of her jackets lying on the floor next to her chest of drawers. She had then checked the drawer in which she kept her valuables, and discovered that a wooden box containing jewellery, which included diamonds that her partner had given her and gold items that had belonged to her father, was not there.

The value of the stolen items was around €10,000, she said. 

The police had recognised the defendant who was a well-known criminal, who had previous convictions for theft, some confirmed on appeal. The victim had also identified Ritchie as someone she knew by sight. 

Mobile phone location data also placed the accused in the area when the theft had taken place.

Ritchie was found guilty of the charges, the court stating that it could not fail to note the defendant's colourful criminal record. He was handed a five-year prison sentence, from which the time he was held in preventive custody was to be reduced.

The Court also ordered the defendant to pay €2679.17 in costs. Police Inspectors Fabian Fleri and Hubert Cini prosecuted.