Thief who returned stolen purse without cash gets suspended sentence

After the police detained the 21-year-old suspect, he briefly escaped from custody before being re-arrested shortly afterwards

The man said he felt guilty because he knew what it was like to have documents stolen
The man said he felt guilty because he knew what it was like to have documents stolen

The courts have handed a suspended sentence to a thief who returned a stolen purse, albeit minus cash, after feeling sorry for his victim.

Anan Bismark, 21, residing at St Paul’s Bay was charged with stealing a purse belonging to a cashier at a shop in the town, while she was away helping a customer.

CCTV footage shows the man reaching over the counter, first feeling the cash register and, finding it closed, proceedings to snatch the cashier’s handbag which had been placed next to the till. Less than €100 were reportedly stolen.

Inspector Clayton Camilleri told Magistrate Marseann Farrugia that after police identified and detained the suspect, he had briefly escaped from custody, before being re-arrested shortly afterwards. As a result, during his arraignment this afternoon, Bismark was also accused of attempting to escape from police custody and disobeying lawful police orders.

The court was told that the man had told police that he had later returned the bag, containing bank cards and identification documents to its owner “as he knew what it was like to not have documents.”

Lawyer Yanika Bugeja argued that the law listed only escapes from prisons, Police HQ, the court lockup, hospital, or during transportation to prison as being punishable. Escape from other places, such as police stations, are not crimes, she said. The charge was withdrawn during the sitting.

Accused admitted to the other charges and received a one month prison sentence, suspended for one year.

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