Stolen items cost $6.77
Theft of black pepper and poultry seasoning cost a West Bay man a fine of $150 in Summary Court last week.
Carlyle Leslie Hydes had pleaded guilty previously, but the court ordered a social inquiry report before sentencing because Hydes, now 67, had no previous convictions.
Magistrate Nova Hall said the report indicated the theft was a total aberration. She said the officer writing the report was convinced Hydes did not enter the store with intent to steal and was unlikely to re-offend. The magistrate asked Hydes why he had stolen the items. “I don’t really remember what happened,” he said.
Crown Counsel Dennis Brady said the offence occurred on 15 June at Foster’s Republix supermarket in West Bay. He said Hydes was observed putting the items in his pants pocket. He then paid for groceries in his cart and proceeded to exit the store. A security guard asked him what he had in his pocket and he said he didn’t have anything. The guard told him he did and he should hand it over. Hydes complied. He was then escorted back inside the store and police were called.
The magistrate observed that although the cost of the goods was low the offence was serious. She said the court could not fail to recognise the increasing number of such cases. She did not know whether there were more shoplifting thefts or if Foster’s had a “zero tolerance” policy. The pre-sentence report had recommended community service, but the magistrate said she considered community service only in lieu of imprisonment. On the other hand, she could not just admonish and discharge the defendant.
In this case, she concluded, the most appropriate sentence was a fine and she ordered Hydes to pay $150 or serve 15 days.