'Abandoned' bag leads to theft conviction

The man admitted, saying he thought the bag was abandoned and that he had merely taken custody of it

A man who protested that he had merely taken custody of an “abandoned” bag has been convicted of theft.

Yahia Wahid S. Alforgani, 36, from Tripoli was accused of stealing an Adidas sportsbag containing cash and mobile phone amongst other items. He was charged with theft aggravated by value and receiving stolen goods.

The accused, a resident of Gzira, told the court he was unemployed and enjoyed refugee status. He pleaded guilty, after telling the court that he had thought the stolen bag had been abandoned and that he had merely taken custody of it.

Inspector Darryl Borg, prosecuting, confirmed that the stolen items had all been returned to their rightful owner.

The Court, on the strength of his admission, found him guilty, but after taking into account his early admission, the return of the stolen items and the man’s clean criminal conduct, opted for a suspended sentence.

Alforgani was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, suspended for two years. Magistrate Monica Vella explained the implications of the suspension of the sentence to the accused, telling him that if he committed another offence in the two-year period he would be jailed for one year in addition to the sentence for the second offence.

Lawyer Josette Sultana was legal aid.