Bakery employee, charged with raiding client's warehouse, remanded in custody

John Bugeja, 47, from Ghasri, was accused of theft aggravated by value, receiving stolen goods and relapsing.

A court has remanded a Gozitan bakery employee in custody after he was charged with having raided a warehouse he was supposed to supply with bread, last November.

John Bugeja, 47, from Ghasri, appeared before magistrate Ian Farrugia this morning, accused of theft aggravated by value, receiving stolen goods and relapsing.

Inspector Kevin Pulis told the court that the accused had been employed by a baker who had an ongoing agreement to supply a warehouse. Bugeja was given the key to the facility in order to restock it with baked goods during the night.

“One night he decided to go and take all the cash and cigarettes he could find,” the inspector said.

Bugeja denied the charges and defence lawyer Yanika Bugeja requested bail.

The prosecution however objected to his release, pointing out that the court had yet to hear a number of eyewitnesses, the identities of whom were known to the accused.

His criminal record is “somewhat colourful”, the police inspector added. The defence contested the relevance of this observation, pointing out that a person's criminal record is not to be taken into account in granting bail.

He had been suffering from drug addiction at the time, Bugeja said, but had since overcome it and was receiving psychiatric care.

The court however said that it felt there was a “real risk” that the accused would tamper with evidence or approach witnesses at this stage and ordered that the accused be remanded in custody.