Man offered shopkeeper sex with female companions before returning to rob shop

The court heard how the man had entered the shop on two occasions and offered the shop owner sex with two different women in exchange for groceries before returning and stealing the cash register later in the evening 

 Themistocles Attard is accused of theft aggravated by value and violence, illegal arrest, carrying a firearm during the commission of a crime against the person, carrying a firearm in public without a licence, criminal damage and relapsing
Themistocles Attard is accused of theft aggravated by value and violence, illegal arrest, carrying a firearm during the commission of a crime against the person, carrying a firearm in public without a licence, criminal damage and relapsing

A man who stands accused of robbing a Santa Venera grocery shop at gunpoint had entered the two shop on two occasions earlier that day and offered the shopkeeper sex with two different females in exchange for items from his shop, the courts heard on Monday.

46 year-old Themistocles Attard from Birzebbugia was arraigned before magistrate Claire Stafrace last week, accused of theft aggravated by value and violence, illegal arrest, carrying a firearm during the commission of a crime against the person, carrying a firearm in public without a licence, criminal damage and relapsing.

The man’s lawyer, Mario Spiteri, last week entered a not guilty plea, explaining that the man’s wife had been seriously ill for years and that the difficult circumstances had led him to where he was today. The accused needed help fighting a drug problem, the court was told.

Taking the witness stand on Monday, the shop’s owner Joseph Saliba recounted how the man, who he had not seen prior to the incident, had entered his shop on two occasions before the hold up on 8 December. 

On the first occasion he had selected a number of items, the price of which amounted to some €6. Attard told the shopkeeper he did not have enough money to pay for the items and had instead told the man he could engage in sexual acts with a woman he claimed to was his wife and who had flirted with him while she was in the shop. The shopkeeper refused and told them to leave his shop.

The court heard how Attard had then returned to the shop with another woman, and told the shopkeeper that she was younger and prettier than the previous one. He again offered sexual relations with the woman in exchange for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, with the shopkeeper again refusing the request.

He explained to the court how, later that evening, as he was washing some knives behind the shop’s cheese counter, the same man entered the shop and told him not move. Attard, the shopkeeper said, had his arm extended and was holding a black item in his hand. He said he had not moved because he was afraid Attard would shoot him.

Attard then reached over the counter and made off with the shop’s cash register which contained some €500 in cash and silver. Attard escaped in a light blue Toyota Tercel, which the police determined was registered in his sister’s name.

Prosecuting inspector Lydon Zammit said that before Attard was interrogated by the police he had confirmed all the details pertaining to his visits to the shop with the exception of the claim that he had been carrying a weapon.

He said had Attard had cooperated with the police and had showed them where he had disposed of the stolen cash register. 

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