Teen gets 54 weeks for burglaries

Guilty pleas entered, property recovered

Devon Emmanuel Wright Jr. was sentenced on Monday to serve 54 weeks imprisonment after pleading guilty to six burglaries in one night and admitting he had breached court orders relating to two other burglaries.

In mitigation, Defence Attorney John Furniss pointed to Wright’s age – 17 when the first two offences took place and 18 now – plus the fact that almost all of the stolen items had been recovered. He emphasised Wright’s acceptance of responsibility for his actions, his apologies and admission that what he had done was stupid.

Magistrate Grace Donalds imposed sentences that increased incrementally from four weeks to 14 weeks, for a total of 54 weeks.

Crown Counsel Tricia Hutchinson provided the facts for six of the burglaries, all of which occurred on the night of Sunday, 23 August, in the area of Selkirk Drive.

Around 3.50am, a woman phoned police and reported three trespassers. She asked officers to remove them from a Prospect area premises. Officers attended and found Wright along with two other males, plus a quantity of items on the floor and on a bed.

The males were questioned about the items, but could not give satisfactory answers. They were taken to George Town Police Station.

Officers checked some of the items and found credit cards. They contacted the person named and suggested he check his premises. The man then realised he was missing property that included two laptops, an iPod, digital camera, an external hard drive and cash to a total value of $3,185.

This man and his wife had retired to bed around 11pm after locking the front door and rear sliding door.

A couple in another household had retired around 9pm, securing the premises but leaving a kitchen window open for ventilation. They subsequently discovered two cell phones and a watch missing. Total value was $959.

The resident of an apartment in the area also retired around 11pm after securing the premises. Around 7am, he was alerted by a worker that his front door was slightly open.

He discovered three cell phones were missing along with his wallet. He made a report to police and was asked to attend the station. There, officers showed him items that had been recovered from the three males and he was able to identify his.

The three other burglaries occurred at the Red Bay Church of God (Holiness) where Wright admitted entering the church, church hall and pastor’s residence. All three buildings had been secured before midnight, Ms Hutchinson said. Nothing was taken from the home, but a laptop computer was removed from the church.

Mr. Furniss said Wright had told him another boy was present during the burglaries. Wright had said he was spoken to by the other boy ‘and went along with him’. That person had denied involvement and has not yet been charged, the attorney related. The third male has apparently been charged with handling stolen goods.

The magistrate asked about a breach of probation. She was told Wright had been placed on probation in April for one burglary offence. On the same date, he was ordered to perform 90 hours of community service for another burglary.

Both of these offences occurred in January at apartments in the Walkers Road area. In one case, the stolen item was a woman’s handbag with cash and personal items; the other case involved a man’s wallet with a driver’s licence and $100.

The magistrate noted conditions of probation had included a curfew between 10pm and 6am and a requirement to report to a probation officer. She asked Wright if he admitted being in breach of both orders. He agreed he was in breach.

The two orders were then revoked so that new sentences could be imposed. The magistrate observed that the new offences had taken place within four months of Wright’s initial sentencing.

For the January burglaries, he received consecutive sentences of four and six weeks.

For the first Selkirk Drive burglary discovered by police, the sentence was a further eight weeks.

The magistrate imposed concurrent 10-week sentences for burglaries at the church property plus 12 and 14 weeks for the remaining two charges.

For a separate incident, in which Wright admitted taking a motor scooter without authority and riding it without a licence or insurance, he was given a term of one month, to be served concurrently.