Shoplifters admit to theft caught on CCTV

A court has condemned two men to a two-year suspended sentence after they pleaded guilty to charges of theft from a jewellery shop

The shoplifters were caught after a still from CCTV footage was circulated to the press
The shoplifters were caught after a still from CCTV footage was circulated to the press

Two Romanian men who were arrested in connection with jewellery thefts from a Bay Street outlet have been charged.

Mircea Copalea, 33, and Marcel Muntianu, 18, appeared before magistrate Francesco Depasquale this afternoon on theft charges.

The men were arrested after CCTV footage of them stealing a watch from a jewellery store at the Bay Street Complex was passed on to the press by Anton Ciantar, who owns the Super Gold Jewellers store.

Ciantar had said that the robbery took place on Sunday between 12:00 and 1:00pm and that the two men spoke in Italian.

Both Copalea and Muntianu, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to the charges and confirmed this when asked again by the magistrate.

Inspector Trevor Micallef informed the court that the stolen wristwatch was recovered, still in its packaging, by police at the time of the men's arrest. It will be returned by the police to its rightful owner. Sergeant Glenn Sammut had taken the initative to investigate the robbery and had identified the men, who were arrested in Paceville.

“What do your clients do in Malta? Nothing?” the magistrate asked.

They came here to find work, the lawyer replied. The court asked what they were going to do now.

The men replied that they would be returning home if they do not find work.

Copalea had been in Malta for one month and a half, and Muntianu had been here for 10 days, they said.

“The court has the option to either imprison you or give you a suspended sentence. Give me a reason to give you a suspended sentence.”

The men also apologised and said their intention was to leave the islands at the first opportunity. "I was tipsy," the elder accused said. The youngster had acted as a distraction while the other took the item.

The court noted the intention to leave and that the item stolen by the accused had been returned. It condemned the men to a period of imprisonment of two years suspended for four. The court pointed out that the sentence was executable across the EU.

Lawyer Benjamin Valencia represented the men.  

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