Repeat offender admits two burglaries, two thefts
A burglary at a condo along Seven Mile Beach has the potential to damage the island’s reputation as a safe tourist destination, Magistrate Valdis Foldats pointed out when he handed down a sentence of 40 months for the offense.
Harry Dwayne Bush, 49, received four sentences on Monday, but the magistrate made them concurrent to reflect Bush’s early guilty pleas and apology to his victims.
The first burglary occurred in July 2013, when Bush entered a George Town residence as a trespasser and stole a flat-screen TV and vehicle keys. He admitted driving the vehicle with the TV in it to another area of George Town. When he returned, the vehicle and TV were gone. Bush said he had consumed cocaine and liquor that night.
Acknowledging a problem with addiction to cocaine, he entered the Drug Rehabilitation Court two months later.
In February 2014, he removed a 42-inch TV and remote control from a yard in West Bay and pleaded not guilty to theft; he said he thought the set had been thrown away. He admitted selling it for $250.
Later the same month, he stole a compressor from an air-conditioning unit at a West Bay business premises. The compressor was valued at $1,000.
The burglary of the tourist accommodation took place in the early hours of Feb. 27, 2015. A woman was awakened by the presence of someone in the bedroom and thought it was her daughter. But when she opened her eyes, she saw a man by her bedside standing over her backpack. She screamed and the person fled through a rear sliding door.
CCTV at the premises showed a man going from patio to patio after 4 a.m. The male was identified as Bush.
His drug court order was revoked and he was sent to the regular criminal court.
The magistrate pointed to sentencing guidelines that call for higher tariffs in the case of repeat burglaries. Aggravating factors in this case included the facts that this was a burglary at night, of a residence, and the occupants were present at the time. Additionally, Bush had been on bail at the time for the other offenses.
The magistrate said residential burglaries violate one of a person’s most basic rights – the right to be secure in one’s own home. That security is shattered when a victim comes face to face with an intruder in the dead of night in the sanctity of his or her own bedroom. Left unchecked, burglaries change the face of a community because burglar bars, security officers, guard dogs and gated communities become the norm, he pointed out.
The starting sentence was five years, but the magistrate gave a full one-third discount for the guilty plea, arriving at 40 months.
Sentence for the 2013 burglary was 32 months and for each of the thefts, three months. All were made concurrent.