The woman caught on camera stealing a Salvation Army donation kettle in Kingstown also stole a bucket containing EC$500 worth of tri tri (fish fry) in the city.
On Monday, at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, the woman, Susan Solomon, of Barrouallie, pleaded guilty to charges related to the theft and destruction of the kettle as well as the theft of the tri tri.
She told the court that she is a mental health patient and was not taking her medication at the time of her offences.
Before the charges were put to Solomon, the prosecutor, acting Corporal of Police Corlene Samuel, told Senior Magistrate Colin John that a bench warrant had been issued for Solomon in relation to her failure to attend court on Nov. 27.
She told the court that the police in Barrouallie said that Solomon is known to have mental health issues.
Samuel asked that Solomon be sent for a psychiatric evaluation before the charges were put to her.
However, Solomon told the court that she is a mental health patient and was not taking her medication or vitamin supplements at the time of her offences.
She said that as a result she was “doing a lot of stupidness but I am taking them now”.
On hearing the defendant, the senior magistrate said that she sounded “Ok to me”.
However, Samuel countered that it does not take one interaction to decide what was Solomon’s mental status at the time of the offences.
John, however, if the mental health professional would be able to determine her status at the time of the offence.
When asked, Solomon told the magistrate that she was in a courtroom.
The magistrate pointed to a police officer in uniform in the courtroom and asked her what type of work he does.
Solomon said he was a police officer.
She further said she understood what it means to plead to a charge and when asked, she gave her name as Susan Solomon.
John then read to Solomon the charge that on Nov. 14, 2023, at Granby Street, Kingstown, she stole on plastic bucket, valued at EC$5 containing a quantity of tri tri valued at EC$500, total value EC$505, property of Augustus George, of Layou.
Solomon told the court that she took the bucket of tri tri and put it at the back of a parking lot.
When asked again if she was guilty or not guilty, the defendant said, “With the tri tri?”
The magistrate responded in the affirmative and Solomon said, “Yes. I take it.”
The facts, read by Police Constable 196 Constantine, are that on Nov. 14, about noon, George left the bucket containing the tri tri on the sidewalk outside KCCU in Kingstown and went into the office to see if anyone wanted to buy tri tri
About 5 minutes later, he returned and the bucket of tri tri was missing.
He reported the matter to the police at the Criminal Investigations and PC105 Castello investigated the matter.
During the investigation, the officer obtained CCTV footage of the incident from the Telecoms Department, showing Solomon, who was wearing a yellow shirt with green shopping bag over her shoulder, taking up the bucket of tri tri and walking away with it.
On Dec. 2, 2023, Castello along with PC 556 Nimblett interviewed Solomon at CID.
She said “Officer, I meet the bucket outside KCCU. I looked up first and see the security guard looked away. I took it up and carried it in the parking lot and leave it behind a car.”
Neither the bucket nor the tri tri was recovered.
Solomon told the court that she had put the bucket of tri tri behind a car because she could not “manage to go with it”.
The senior magistrate told her that based on her statements in court and the fact as given by the police, he was accepting her guilty plea.
Samuel then asked that before the magistrate sentence Solomon that she be read two other charges – which related to the theft of the kettle.
Solomon pleaded guilty to the charges that on Nov. 23, at Hillsboro Street, Kingstown, without lawful excuse, she damaged one red kettle, valued at EC$92, the property of Salvation Army, with intent to damage such property; and she stole the said kettle containing EC$150, the property of the Salvation Army.
The magistrate explained the charges to the defendant, who responded:
“When I walking cross and I saw nobody so I say leh me sit down. I cut the string and take it up. I saw the police coming for me, so I throw it in Coreas.”
The facts, as read by Constantine, are that a member of the Methodist Church was assisting the Salvation Army, as part of its annual Kettle Appeal, in soliciting donations from passers-by in Kingstown.
The volunteer began to solicit donations around 9 a.m. and around 1:30 p.m., she left the kettle on the sidewalk and went into Coreas City Store to use the washroom.
When she returned at 1:37 p.m., the kettle was missing.
The volunteer checked and asked people nearby but was unsuccessful in locating the kettle.
She reported the matter to the police and PC 11 Patterson investigated the matter, which led to Solomon.
The defendant volunteered a statement in writing admitting to the offence.
Constantine told the court that the kettle was empty when it was recovered.
The prosecutor told the court that she believed that by then the whole country had seen the video clip of Solomon stealing the kettle.
She said the kettle had been brought to the court during the first hearing — when Solomon did not attend court after being granted station bail — and was supposed to be brought to court on Monday.
The prosecutor said the kettle was not brought to court, but told the court that it had what appeared to be stab marks, presumably from a knife.
Solomon said that when she saw the police coming, she threw away the kettle at Jax Enterprise, located next to Coreas City Store.
Samuel, however, told the court that the footage showed Solomon walking away with the kettle.
On the damage to property and theft charges, the magistrate reprimanded and discharged Solomon.
“Don’t do it again, Ms Solomon,” John told the defendant. “If you see people’s things, leave them.”
On the charge of theft of the bucket of tri tri, the senior magistrate decided to bond Solomon.
John noted that Solomon had indicated her medical status and what triggers it.
“You have to take control of your life. You have to make sure that you take your treatment. So, once you take your treatment and you are good, make sure you take your treatment so that you won’t be doing things when you are not in a sane state,” the senior magistrate told the defendant.
“To ensure you take it seriously, I will place you on a bond for one year in the sum of EC$1,000 or six months. If you fail to take your treatment and do something illegal within one year, you will be fined EC$1,000 or six months in prison,” John said.
After Monday’s hearing, Solomon was taken back into police custody, reportedly in connection to other investigations.