A former employee of the Cayman Islands Humane Society was brought to Summary Court late Monday charged with four burglaries of the organization’s premises on North Sound Road.
Ricky Johnny Alvarado, 26, was represented by attorney Oliver Grimwood, who successfully applied for bail. That success was modified, however, by the fact that there was no electronic monitor available for the defendant to wear as required by Magistrate Valdis Foldats.
Crown counsel Scott Wainwright had objected to bail, pointing out that the four burglaries had occurred within a relatively short time, the last two while Mr. Alvarado was on police bail for the first two.
Mr. Wainwright advised that entry to the premises was the same on all occasions – through the kennels into the reception area. He said identification would be by CCTV.
The first burglary occurred on July 20 this year, around 8:47 p.m. Mr. Alvarado is charged with entering as a trespasser and stealing $2,100. Mr. Wainwright said the burglar went directly to the cash drawer.
On July 24, also after hours, the suspect was allegedly seen entering the reception area, rummaging around and then taking an unspecified amount of money from a donation jar.
Mr. Alvarado was then arrested. He told police he had been home all night on both occasions.
On Sept. 10, around 1:45 a.m., the suspect allegedly entered, walked through the reception area directly to the donation jar and took $25. On Sept. 18, around 10:50 p.m., he allegedly entered and took $57 from the jar.
Police saw Mr. Alvarado in the area and tracked him to a store on Eastern Avenue. Mr. Wainwright said the defendant was clearly identified from that store’s CCTV. His clothing was taken back to the Humane Society and filmed: “It shows up the same way,” Mr. Wainwright told the court.
Mr. Grimwood said there was nothing unique or distinctive about the clothing.
He pointed out that at the time of the first burglary, Mr. Alvarado was employed at the Humane Society and earning money. He was not a disgruntled employee or needing cash or committing a crime for spite.
“They have a lot of volunteers,” the attorney said of the organization.
The magistrate noted that the charges were for a non-residential premises. The starting point for sentence after conviction would be non-custodial for a first offender. He pointed out that Mr. Alvarado had no previous convictions.
Mr. Wainwright said the court had to consider the harm done because it was donated money stolen from a charitable organization. He said he would not have objected to bail except for the number of charges involving the same place in a short period of time.
The magistrate indicated he would not have granted bail, but he had to be mindful of the amount of time the defendant would likely spend in custody before a trial. In the circumstances, bail had to be with an electronic monitor and 24-hour curfew.
However, no electronic monitor was available.
Mr. Grimwood said it could not be right that the man was not able to get bail because of a lack of electronic monitors.
The magistrate indicated that it might be time for the issue of funding to be looked at.
Mr. Grimwood suggested that the defendant could be required to report to a police station every morning and officers could check him at his home any time.
The magistrate said he was not prepared to grant bail without the electronic monitor. “They come up randomly – you never know,” he said, adding that a monitor might become available the next day.
Further conditions included a 24-hour curfew at Mr. Alvarado’s address, recognizance in the sum of $1,500 and a surety in the same amount.
The matter was set for mention again on Thursday, Oct. 11.