3 years for stealing first governor’s war medals

Stolen items were not recovered

Cayman’s first governor Athelstan Charles Long

Mitchum Kenjo Wood was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday on a Grand Court burglary charge stemming from an incident in which the war medals of Cayman’s first governor, Athelstan Charles Long, were stolen in September last year.

The court heard that Mr. Wood was one of two parties that broke into the law offices of Amanda Roberts on Sept. 14, 2017, and stole items that were “quite significant.”

Crown counsel Greg Walcolm told the court that in addition to the war medals, the burglars took a diamond ring worth $30,000, an eight-point star diamond brooch worth $5,000, other jewelry and coins. A microwave oven and coffee machine were also taken.

“They ransacked the place,” Justice Linda Dobbs said.

None of the items were ever recovered.

Mr. Walcolm noted that a significant degree of force was used to smash the door of the office, and Justice Dobbs said that the items stolen had “both financial and sentimental value.”

The defendant and his partner were seen on CCTV climbing onto the balcony of the office at 2:21 a.m. and leaving at 4:37 a.m. The identity of the other burglar is unknown.

Mr. Wood was identified by DNA evidence on a bottle of beer that had been in the refrigerator of the law office.

“I believe they had been thirsty due to the work to get into the premises,” Mr. Walcolm said.

Mr. Wood had been previously convicted for similar offenses, and Mr. Walcolm noted that he was on probation for criminal trespass at the time of the burglary. Mr. Wood will also have to be sentenced in Summary Court for his breach of probation, said Justice Dobbs before imposing her sentence.

Miniature versions of medals stolen from Athelstan Charles Long.

Mr. Walcolm told the court that he believed the offense was one of high culpability in that it was an organized burglary that specifically targeted the office and made off with high-value goods.

Defense attorney Crister Brady said that Mr. Wood acted in a secondary role during the burglary. He added that it is believed the other individual involved in the crime has left the jurisdiction.

Justice Dobbs said that she regarded the offense as one of medium culpability.

“This was obviously planned, but it wasn’t particularly sophisticated,” she said.

Justice Dobbs noted the previous convictions for similar offenses as an aggravating factor and said that there were no mitigating factors to consider before sentence.

“You haven’t learned your lesson, it seems,” she said to Mr. Wood before imposing her sentence.

Justice Dobbs sentenced Mr. Wood to three years in prison for the burglary, but gave him credit for three months of time served for his year spent wearing an electronic ankle monitor and on curfew while awaiting trial and sentence.

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