Two admit stealing almost 50 gas cylinders from doorsteps

A man and a woman stole three gas cylinders at a time in various localities to sustain their drug addiction

Court hands down prison sentence for gas cylinder thefts
Court hands down prison sentence for gas cylinder thefts

Two persons admitted in court to stealing 46 gas cylinders from the doorsteps of private residences over the last three months.

Roderick Zahra 33, and Ruth Spiteri, 38 both unemployed, from Ghaxaq and Santa Lucija respectively, admitted carrying out a spate of thefts between August and October.

Zahra was accused of stealing 22 gas cylinders by himself from outside houses in Naxxar, Swieqi, Marsaskala and Zebbug and robbing tools from a construction site in Swieqi.

He was also charged with the theft of 24 gas cylinders from Mosta, Marsasxlokk, San Gwann, St. Julians and Pembroke, for which Spiteri was accused of being an accomplice.

Inspector Trevor Micallef told the court that no more than three cylinders would be stolen at a time. The case was heard by magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo.

Lawyer Charmaine Cherrett entered a guilty plea on behalf of both Zahra and Spiteri.

The magistrate pointed out to the accused that they had just pleaded guilty to a large number of thefts, explaining that the law provided them with a brief window of  opportunity to withdraw their guilty plea, as their crimes carried with them a prison sentence. The pair were allowed to consult with their lawyer once again, but later reiterated their admission.

The court, having heard the admisison, sentenced Zahra to three years imprisonment and recommended he be treated for drug addiction, handing Spiteri an 18 month prison sentence, which was suspended for 24 months. Spiteri was also placed under a two year treatment order for drug addiction. The court warned Spiteri that if she violated the conditions, the prison sentence would be triggered.

After his sentence was read out, Zahra informed the court he would appeal the sentence.

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