A former Cayman Islands Humane Society volunteer was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday, for breaking into the animal shelter while serving a suspended sentence for burglarising the premises on two previous occasions.
Ricky Johnny Alvarado, 26, of Nicaragua, was originally given an 18-month suspended sentence in June.
Three months later, in September, he was caught on CCTV breaking into the Humane Society again. During the incident, he made no attempt to conceal his identity and stole $700.
In the Grand Court on Tuesday, Alvarado’s attorney Oliver Grimwood told the court his client is “addicted to cocaine”.
“The burglaries were a desperate and, frankly, disgusting act to fuel his drug addiction,” said Grimwood. “It may come as no surprise that the nature of the reason that brings him back to the courts is that of drugs, namely crack cocaine.”
While advocating for a further suspended sentence, Grimwood suggested that stricter conditions, such as placing an electronic ankle monitor on Alvarado, could be one way to help him receive the help he needed to fight his addiction.
“My client would like to receive help to overcome his addiction,” said Grimwood. “He would benefit from a structured programme at Caribbean Haven.”
A social services officer, who doubled as a Spanish interpreter during the proceedings, advised the court against placing Alvarado on a suspended sentence. The court was told that Alvarado’s address, and lack of a proper structure, would ultimately result in him relapsing and potentially re-offending. His inability to understand English fluently ruled out any programmes that could be of benefit at Caribbean Haven.
“In this court’s long history of dealing with offenders, it has become clear that the first step towards rehabilitation is taking ownership for your actions,” said Justice Roger Chapple, when handing down his ruling. “From everything I have learned, I’m not remotely convinced that you are really at this stage of your life.”
The judge imposed a term of one-year imprisonment for the September burglary, and then reduced it by one-third for an early guilty plea. He then re-instated 10 months of the original 18-month prison sentence and ordered that they run consecutively.