Tunisian handbag thief jailed for five years

Mahdi Ouerfelli, 25, had been found to be carrying a taser gun at the time of his arrest in Paceville in 2014

A Tunisian man will be spending the next five years in prison after he was found guilty of stealing a girl's handbag from a Paceville bar.

Mahdi Ouerfelli, 25, had been arrested at around 3:30am on 29 June 2014 after being caught in the act of taking the handbag away from the bar where its owner had been drinking. Ouerfelli's subsequent attempt to escape was thwarted by security guards, alerted by the girl's shouts of “thief!”

The handbag had held a mobile phone worth €700 and €70 in cash.

The court was told that after his arrest, the Tunisian had made a second bid to escape, this time by telling police that his handcuffs were too tight. He was arrested soon after near a Paceville hotel, hiding by lying on the ground in an unlit area. He was found to be in possession of a taser gun.

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech noted that he had already been convicted of similar offences and was clearly not learning from his mistakes or making use of the opportunities afforded him by the courts.

With this in mind, Ouerfelli was sentenced to a total of five years imprisonment, after a two-year suspended sentence which he had been handed in 2013, was also rendered executive.