A 37-year-old husband on Friday attributed to the excitement generated by the expected visit of a female friend from the United Kingdom, his decision to steal liquor and other items from a supermarket.
Shorn Rodrigues volunteered that while he and the woman are very close, they are not sexually involved — information which the magistrate told him was not his concern.
“Consider yourself a lucky man, eh,” Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett said — not of Rodrigues’ relationship with the second woman, but apparently of the fact that he would be given a chance to interact with her outside of the confines of prison.
“Today may be your lucky day. You are not going to go to prison today,” Burnett said as he handed down a three-month sentence suspended for six months.
Rodrigues, a deliveryman, had pleaded guilty at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court to a charge that on April 27 at Kingstown, he stole two quarts of Sunset Strong Rum, value EC$17.50, two Ekotica Fruit and Nut Fusion Rum, value EC$8.06, one Hereford Corned Beef, value EC$5.95 and one CAK chopped ham, value, EC$9.01, the property of Massy’s Store.
The court heard that the defendant, a delivery worker with Nature’s Best Bakery, went to Massy’s Supermarket around 9 a.m. on April 27, to deliver pastries — as he frequently does.
He went to the back of the deli and collected a container and left the property.
A security guard saw Rodrigues taking up the items and noticed that he had left the property without paying for them.
The security guard informed another colleague, who stopped Rodrigues and found the stolen items.
The police were called in and the man was charged.
In mitigation, the man, who has been married for 14 years, said he does not normally steal.
He, however, said that a friend from England is coming to St. Vincent this week and he was overjoyed.
“I took the alcohol for her and the other things for home,” the defendant said and asked the court to allow him to pay for them.
Rodrigues told the magistrate that his wife is mentally unsound and they have a 6-year-old daughter.
“Mr. Rodrigues, your case is a very sad case,” the senior magistrate had said in a tone that had suggested that he was considering jailing the defendant.
He had noted that Rodrigues had a conviction for burglary, adding that while this was in 2007, it was indicating something to the court.
Asked to comment on what penalty should be imposed on Rodrigues, prosecutor Police Constable Corlene Samuel had said that Rodrigues held a position of trust with his employers.
She said that his actions had discredited the bakery.
Lawyer Samantha Robinson happened to be at the bar table at the time and the magistrate asked her to weigh in on the matter.
She noted that Rodrigues had said that his wife is mentally ill.
Robinson suggested that the court impose a suspended sentence.
“He has done this,” the magistrate commented, noting that the value of the stolen items was $40.56.
Burnett further pointed out that now that Rodrigues was caught, he was asking the court to allow him to pay for the items.
The jurist asked why he had not done so in the first instance.