A Grand Court judge handed down an 18-month suspended sentence to Ricky Johnny Alvarado on Wednesday for two burglaries at the Cayman Islands Humane Society, where the defendant had worked.

The sentence will be suspended for two years and may be triggered if Alvarado re-offends in the interim.

Alvarado, who was employed by the Humane Society at the time of the first offence, was originally charged with four counts of burglary occurring between July and September 2018.

He allegedly entered the building illegally on four separate occasions and took money from donation jars and a cash register. Alvarado originally pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty on two counts of burglary on the first day of his trial on 25 Feb. The other two counts of burglary will lie on file.

The court heard on previous occasions that Alvarado entered the building the same way each time – through the kennels into the reception area – and that he was visible on CCTV footage.

The Crown sought compensation of $2,800, which included $2,100 in cash stolen and $700 in damage caused.

In relation to the first offence, which occurred on 20 July last year, Alvarado was charged with stealing $2,100 from the cash drawer. Four days later, he allegedly entered the reception area, rummaged around and took an unspecified amount of money from a donation jar.

Alvarado was arrested after the second occasion. He was later charged with entering the Humane Society and stealing small amounts of cash from the donation jar on 10 Sept. and 18 Sept.

Justice Patrick Brooks said Wednesday that Alvarado does not warrant an immediate custodial sentence, and he ordered that he perform 100 hours of community service and repay the Humane Society $2,800. Alvarado will have 18 months to repay the money and can do it in instalments or one lump sum.

Justice Brooks said that Alvarado will be credited with the period of incarceration while on remand if he is forced to serve his sentence of imprisonment.

“If you commit any other offence, you will have to serve these sentences,” said Justice Brooks to Alvarado after announcing his decision. “It means you have to behave yourself.”