Burglar caught in 91 minutes

‘Collector’s item’ liquor was not sold where defendant said he bought it

After a burglar alarm went off at 10:47 p.m., Presley Charles Whittaker was found with suspicious items 18 minutes after midnight, Magistrate Grace Donalds heard last week. 

Crown Counsel Marilyn Brandt explained that a plea to handling stolen goods was not acceptable because the time frame was so short between the burglary and the discovery of Whittaker in possession of the stolen items. He was also found not far from the burgled premises 91 minutes after the break-in was reported. 

After Whittaker changed his plea and admitted the burglary, the magistrate heard facts and sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment. 

The incident occurred on Oct. 12 at a dwelling on Bodden Town Road. The residence had CCTV with an audible alarm, which was activated at 10:47 p.m. 

The owner attended the scene and observed that the front door had been damaged by someone entering forcibly. He reported the matter to police but did not indicate that anything was stolen. 

At 18 minutes after midnight, Whittaker was observed riding a bicycle in the vicinity of the Blow Holes in East End. Police stopped him because they knew he had failed to appear in court for another matter. They inquired about the contents of a canvas bag he had with him. He said everything was his personal property. Officers checked and found hand tools, household cleaners and three bottles of assorted liquor. Another liquor bottle was found in Whittaker’s pants pocket. 

Officers contacted the man who had reported the burglary and asked him to make further checks. The man then identified bottles of liquor missing from a cabinet: a rum bottle containing a fruit punch mix; a bottle of vodka, an herbal drink and a bottle of Liquore Abbazia, which the complainant said was a collector’s item purchased at a monastery in Rome, Italy. 

Whittaker was asked about it, and he named a liquor store where he said he had purchased it. On Oct. 15, police confirmed that the store did not sell that item, nor did they stock it. 

Defense attorney John Furniss said Whittaker, 21, deserved credit for his guilty plea. Referring to his client’s alcohol abuse, he said he had tried to get him into the Drug Rehabilitation Court, but that didn’t work out.  

Mr. Furniss accepted that the tariff for a second or subsequent burglary is three to four years, but that was after trial. The circumstances of this offense put it at the lower end of the scale, he urged, in part because the house was unoccupied at the time and the value of items stolen was low – $100. Whittaker’s plea showed remorse, the attorney pointed out. 

Stolen items included a bottle of Liquore Abbazia, which the complainant said was a collector’s item purchased at a monastery in Rome, Italy.