Man who posed as cleaner stole around €5,000 in cash and cheques, court told

Accused is denied bail in light of his long criminal record and unemployment after stealing €4,749 in cash and €1,466 in cheques from the Savoy Hall in Gzira earlier this month

File photo
File photo

A man posing as a cleaner at the Gzira local council offices allegedly hoovered up nearly €5,000 in cash and cheques, a court has been told today.

36-year-old Rittmar Hatherly from Floriana was arraigned under arrest before magistrate Nadine Lia on Tuesday, charged with the theft of two bus cards and €60 in cash from a Sliema hotel on August 29 and the aggravated theft of €4,749 in cash and €1,466 in cheques from the Savoy Hall in Gzira on September 3.

Police inspector Shamus Woods told the court that during the investigations into the two reported thefts, it had emerged that the thief had come face to face with a clerk at the Council’s office and had claimed to be a cleaner there. Police had also seized CCTV footage showing the defendant at the offices, he said.

Hatherly, who told the court that he used to work as a salesman but had recently stopped for health reasons, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Lawyer Luke Valletta, Hatherly’s legal aid counsel, made a request for bail, arguing that the defendant was presumed innocent and would definitely not abscond as he was providing care for his elderly mother.

The prosecution objected to the man’s release from arrest. Hatherly was a recidivist with a serious drug problem, inspector Woods explained, informing the court that the defendant had to be taken to hospital twice since his arrest to be administered methadone.

One of the thefts had taken place right opposite a police station, added the inspector, who also told the court that a very important eyewitness had yet to testify.

The court, after seeing the defendant’s long criminal record and unemployed, denied bail at this stage, adjudging him to be untrustworthy and a risk to the integrity of witness evidence.

In view of his severe drug addiction, the magistrate requested that the prisons director immediately provide the man with all the assistance necessary to treat it.