Three male teenagers, apprehended last Thursday at Smith Barcadere, appeared in Summary Court this week charged with a daytime residential burglary in the vicinity of South Church Street.

Two of them, ages 15 and 17, came before Magistrate Grace Donalds on Monday.

Crown counsel Emma Hutchinson said a citizen had phoned police to report a suspected burglary. Police attended the residence and the intruders ran from the scene, toward Grand Old House. Ms. Hutchinson said police gave chase and caught the three defendants at Smith Barcadere.

One of the teens told police he had gone there to smoke marijuana. The other said he had gone there for a swim and police some time later asked him to come out of the water. Both denied knowledge of any burglary.

Meanwhile, Ms. Hutchinson said, the homeowner had returned to the premises. She provided officers with a preliminary list of stolen items and advised that bedrooms, the living room and an office had been ransacked. The point of entry was identified and a hammer was found inside one of the rooms.

Defense attorney Prathna Bodden pointed out that the two defendants had no previous convictions. They each had a parent present in court who would provide a secure address and stand as surety. She pointed out that even if the defendants were guilty, it was not likely they would be sent to prison for a first offense, given their age.

The magistrate granted bail with conditions that included a $1,000 surety, the wearing of an electronic monitor, observance of a 24-hour curfew and non-contact with civilian witnesses.

The question was raised as to whether the 15-year-old defendant would be dealt with in the Summary Court, as opposed to the Youth Court, but senior attorneys present indicated that if the defendants were jointly charged, they would be kept together.

The matter was set for mention again on Aug. 7.

The third defendant, 17, appeared in court on Tuesday. Defense attorney John Furniss applied for bail on the same terms as the first two teens. Crown counsel Greg Walcolm objected, advising the court that this defendant had another burglary charge against him, dating from February. In that incident, the occupant of the home had been present at the time, he said.

Mr. Walcolm expressed concern about the recent increase in residential burglaries, saying the offense could well change the culture of this jurisdiction, with gated communities being one result.

The magistrate withheld bail and remanded this defendant in custody. He is to be brought to court on Aug. 7 to link up with the other two.

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