Tears in the dock as homeless man is charged with robbing same shop four times

A young man, who was raised in an orphanage and is homeless, was caught by the police after stealing from the same shop four times

A man has appeared in court accused of stealing a number perfumes from the same shop in Valletta on no less than four occasions this month.

Inspector Priscilla Caruana Lee arraigned Frank Schembri, 22, this afternoon before magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera.

Schembri, who has no fixed address and is homeless, was charged with four counts of theft from Roseberry in Republic Street on July 13, 22, 24 and 28. He was also charged with relapsing and committing a voluntary offence in contravention of a conditional discharge he had been handed for another offence in March.

On the last occasion, Schembri is understood to have dropped his loot after a plucky salesgirl gave chase. Although the thief managed to slip away, he was later apprehended after being placed on the wanted list.

He told the court that he had sold the rest of the perfumes.

The accused told the court that he had always been homeless and had been raised in an orphanage.  

Although he had initially admitted, Schembri changed his plea to not guilty, in order to allow him time to be admitted into a drug rehabilitation program. Silent tears streamed down his face as the court discussed his fate with the prosecution and his lawyer. Bail was not requested as he had no fixed address and Schembri was remanded in custody.

The court drew the attention of prisons to assist the accused in addressing his acute drug problems and to continue the drug program he had already started with Caritas whilst he waited for his case to continue.

Lawyer Yanika Bugeja was legal aid.

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