Two accused of failed attempts to steal cash machines kept under arrest

Two men accused of two unsuccessful attempts at stealing cash machines have been remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to the charges.

Matthew Portelli, 32, from St Paul's Bay, and Carmel Hartley, 46, from San Gwann, were accused of trying to steal two automated cash machines from St Paul's bay on 29 August and 10 August respectfully. They were also charged with the theft of a vehicle number plate, driving a vehicle without insurance and without a valid road license, and being recidivists.

The court heard how, on 29 August, two people with masked faces tried, unsuccessfully, to steal an ATM – the entire machine - from St Paul’s Bay. 

At the same time this happened, the police were investigating Portelli on other matters. While searching his residence, they noted a van, which, after an inspection, turned out to be the same van which showed up in the CCTV footage of the attempted theft of the ATM. 

Chains used to try to pull the ATM and balaclavas were discovered inside the van.

On being questioned about this by the police, Portelli admitted his involvement in the case. The police received information that the other person to have likely been involved was Hartley. He too later admitted to having taken part in the attempt.

The two also admitted to having been involved in another similar unsuccessful attempt to steal another ATM in St Paul’s Bay on 10 August.

Both the defence and prosecution agreed that due to the nature of the accusations, an effective prison term was inevitable.

The accused pleaded not guilty.

Bail was not requested, and the two were remanded in custody.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja presided.

Lawyer Martha Mifsud was legal aid for the accused