John Michael Schirn appeared in Summary Court on Friday after being arrested shortly after 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday by police responding to a report of a burglary in progress at a West Bay Road condominium complex.
Schirn, 29, was charged with burglary with intent to steal and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest.
Crown counsel Greg Walcolm said the imitation firearm was in fact a flashlight, but when the defendant held it in his hand he shouted at the officer who had been chasing him, “I have a gun! I have a gun!”
The officer was put in fear that the object was a gun, but then observed it more closely and realized it was a flashlight, the court heard. He pulled his baton and advanced toward the defendant, who told him, “You best don’t hit me with that” and then ran again. The officer caught him.
Mr. Walcolm explained that police had received a report of an ongoing burglary at the Silver Sands Condominiums. After they arrived around 2:30 a.m. and parked beside the manager’s building, they observed two males jump out through a window of the manager’s office.
One man was dressed in black and wore a mask; he ran toward the beach, with one of the officers in pursuit. He escaped.
The other man, who wore an orange long-sleeved hoodie, ran toward George Town. He jumped over a wall and went through a property, then went over a fence and onto another premises, Mr. Walcolm said.
At another property, it was very dark. The officer pulled out his flashlight and saw the defendant moving. The defendant stood up, backing way, and that was when he was seen holding the item the officer thought was a firearm.
After Schirn was captured and told he was under arrest, he told the officer he had too much to lose. He said words to the effect, “We can work something out. Let me see your face. Maybe I know you.”
Mr. Walcolm said the Crown was considering a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice as a result.
Schirn gave a no comment interview after being given the opportunity to speak to an attorney, he said.
Investigations were still at an early stage, he noted. CCTV had been requested from the condo complex. Testing had not yet been completed on a crowbar recovered at the scene and an orange-handled screwdriver which fell from the defendant’s person as he was escaping. The manager of the premises had been unable to say immediately whether anything had been stolen, but a follow-up statement was expected, he told Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez. A scenes-of-crime report was also awaited.
For the above reasons, Mr. Walcolm said, he objected to bail.
Defense attorney Philip Rule pointed out that Schirn’s flashlight was turned on at the time he held it and told the officer he had a gun. He applied for bail, telling the court that his client worked five-and-a-half days per week and could report to police on weekends.
The magistrate denied bail, but pointed out that the case should progress within the next week, so she did not close the application. She set mention of the matter for Thursday, Aug. 10, at noon by video link.