Slippery shoplifter remanded in custody

Accused, who was denied bail, had led police on a chase and threatened three officers

A shoplifter who managed to escape arresting officers, before going on to steal again, has been denied bail today.

Bertram Zahra, 27, from Zejtun appeared before magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace this morning. Zahra, who was identified from CCTV footage, stands accused of stealing coffee from a Zejtun supermarket on December 8th, insulting and threatening police officers on December 22.

Officers had been unable to take him into custody on that occasion, leading to him allegedly stealing items from a convenience store on December 29th and violently resisting arrest on January 2nd.

Inspector Charlotte Curmi, prosecuting, explained that the man had threatened three officers in Zejtun, as well as actively resisted police officers during the course of their duties.

He was arrested after leading police on a chase. “It was like something out of Starsky and Hutch, we have an officer injured because of a collision with a bulldozer,” the inspector told the magistrate. The court was asked to provide for the safety of the officers concerned.

Zahra was also accused of recidivism, having allegedly committed a similar offence in 2016.

The accused, wearing a dark tracksuit and hoodie, appeared in the dock assisted by lawyer Leontine Calleja. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bail was refused as the accused did not appear to reside at his registered address. Inspector Curmi explained that the police had spent 3 weeks trying to find him and had left messages with his partner that the police were looking for him, all to no avail.

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