Man pleads guilty to stealing from a cafe tip jar

Man, 27, pleads guilty to stealing around €150 from a cafe tip jar to finance his drug addiction

A man is to be sentenced next week after he admitted to having stolen around €150 from a cafe tip jar to finance his drug addiction.

Manpreet Singh, 27, from India, was arraigned before magistrate Gabriella Vella on Friday afternoon.

Inspector Francesco Mizzi charged Singh with theft and with living an idle and vagrant life. He explained that at 11 am yesterday, the Qawra police station had received a report of a man, wearing a hoodie and carrying a backpack, having stolen the contents of a tip box from a cafe in St. Paul’s Bay at around 8:30am that same day. 

CCTV footage of the theft was handed over to the police, who added an image of the suspect on the wanted list. 

Just hours later, at 5:30pm, community police officers in Hamrun had noticed a man who resembled the suspect, wearing the same clothes and carrying the same backpack and arrested him.

While in police custody, Singh had admitted to the theft, telling the police that he had made a stupid mistake. He confirmed to the officers that coins which had been found inside his backpack were the coins taken from the tip box.

In court on Friday afternoon, Singh did not hesitate to answer “guilty,” when asked to enter a plea.

Inspector Mizzi informed the court that the police had also established that Singh had a drug problem which needed to be addressed, requesting he receive a custodial sentence, coupled with rehabilitation while in prison.

Legal aid counsel Ingrid Zammit Young asked the court to consider a non-custodial sentence, together with a treatment order for non-residential drug rehabilitation, arguing that this was Singh’s first brush with the law and that the man had been homeless but was now employed and had somewhere to live. 

The court adjourned the case to Monday morning, for sentencing.