Burglar ordered to compensate victims

A magistrate on Monday ordered a burglar to pay to the victims of his crime a total of $1,682.

Magistrate Valdis Foldats also imposed a suspended sentence with a supervision order and two years probation.

Marc Lee Connolly, 37, pleaded guilty to the burglaries in January, 2012. One of the offenses was at an East End bar. Connolly was ordered to pay $81.98 for bottles of liquor he stole after forcing open a window.

The other two burglaries were residential. The magistrate noted that they were breaches of trust because the owners had hired him to perform specific tasks.

Crown counsel Neil Kumar explained that the owner of an East End apartment had found the door open and a 27-inch TV with built-in VHS and DVD player missing. The item’s value was $600.

A police investigation showed that the woman’s husband had previously hired Connolly to clear some bush from the yard. When police spoke to him he admitted the offense. He said he had used a screwdriver to force the door lock. He told officers he sold the TV to get money for drugs.

In December, 2011, an East End resident left the island for the holidays, hiring Connolly to serve as caretaker during his absence and to feed his pet dog. Connolly used a case knife to force the front door open and he damaged the rear door when leaving the premises. He stole a 32-inch TV, a laptop computer, a computer bag with documents, a cellphone and a bottle of rum. The total value of the stolen goods was $3,484.

When the owner returned and confronted him, Connolly admitted selling the items to get drugs. He assisted this complainant in recovering some of the items. The owner later requested compensation of $1,000.

Connolly was remanded in custody on January 12, 2012.

Defense attorney John Furniss explained that Connolly spent the next six months in custody awaiting admission to Caribbean Haven, a residential drug treatment center. He remained there for 36 weeks, until March, 2013.

He was then placed on bail, but was back in custody from June to October, 2013. Then he had surgery on his back and hip and when he returned to court, he tested positive for cocaine and remained in custody ever since.

Mr. Furniss asked that Connolly be given credit for his early guilty pleas, the time he spent at Caribbean Haven and in custody, and the fact that he committed no further offenses while on bail.

“It’s the cocaine,” Mr. Furniss said. “It has to be beaten at some stage,” he commented, suggesting another effort at counseling and abstinence.

The magistrate said people have a right to expect to feel secure in their own homes. Sentences for burglary should deter others from committing the offense as well as punish the offender, he indicated. The local tariff for a second or subsequent burglary is three to four years.

In this case, Connolly had already spent almost a year in custody and a year at Caribbean Haven.

The magistrate imposed concurrent suspended sentences of two years for each burglary, with a supervision order. For consuming cocaine, Connolly was placed on probation for two years with conditions that he attend counseling programs, attend Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and not enter liquor license premises. For any breach, he will be brought back to court and resentenced.

For four charges of failing to attend court, he was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

He allowed six months for payment of compensation.

The magistrate said people have a right to expect to feel secure in their own homes.