Burglars severely punished for break-in

Two burglars are sentenced to 78 months in jail between them after being found guilty of aggravated theft, voluntary damage to third party property and three separate breaches of bail

Two burglars who were caught by the police in the act of stealing a television set from a private residence have, between them, been handed 78 months in jail and lost €28,000 in bail money.

Philianne Ceci, 35, and Jon Lawrence Formosa, 24, had been discovered inside an antiques dealer’s house in Pieta after vigilant neighbours had alerted the police.

Officers of the police Rapid Intervention Unit found the two inside, disconnecting the wires of a television in the afternoon of November 28, last year.

Stolen jewellery, a boxful of watches, imitation pistols, a laptop and a tablet, which was locked and which responded to a password revealed by the owner’s son, were found during a search of the couple’s getaway car – a grey Fiat Punto registered to one of the accused’s mother.

Ceci and Formosa were charged with the aggravated theft, voluntary damage to third party property and three separate breaches of bail.

During the proceedings, neighbours had told magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech how they had noticed two unfamiliar persons, one wearing a black coat and a hoodie, kicking open the front door of their neighbour’s house.

One of these eyewitnesses had filmed the break-in on his mobile.

Police officers had told the court that Ceci had pleaded with the owner of the house for forgiveness, reminding him of the times when he had allegedly sought out her sister and herself as prostitutes.

When releasing his statement to the police, Formosa had admitted to having taken items from the house, but said that he had entered the residence to find his own laptop and tablet which he claimed to have handed over as security for repayment of cash borrowed from the dealer.

Ceci insisted that she had sold sex to the homeowner three times, insisting that he had even handed her a business card.

Having seen the evidence, however, the court concluded that the pair had made up the whole story in an attempt to explain their presence inside the house and found the two accused guilty.

After taking into consideration the pair’s lengthy criminal records it held that an effective prison sentence was needed as the two had wasted every previous opportunity to mend their ways.

Ceci was jailed for 34 months and ordered to forfeit €16,520 in bail guarantees, while Formosa was handed a 44-month jail term and ordered to forfeit €11,520.

The two were slapped with an additional bill of €2,022.65 between them in respect of court expenses.

The Fiat Punto was spared confiscation since it had not been proved that its owner knew of its use in the robberies.