PHILIPSBURG–A 35-year-old woman will have to spend three weeks in prison for stealing valuable electronics from Boolchand’s store in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which struck St. Maarten on September 6, 2017.
The Court of First Instance on Wednesday found it legally and convincingly proven that the woman had taken a television, two iPads and a MacBook from the store.
Samantha Pereira was acquitted of fencing clothes and shoes that were found in a suitcase during a police search of her house on September 27, 2017.
The woman told the Court that the electronics had been outside of the store “near the church.” She had noticed the items while she was sheltering from the rain and admitted she had taken these items to her home.
She said she had been pleased with the pieces of electronics, as she previously did not possess such devices.
She said part of the clothes found in the suitcase belonged to her. The other pieces of clothing were given to her, but there were no shoes, she stated.
She had told the police she regretted having taken the items and felt ashamed. She said she did not consider herself a looter, but confessed she had taken the electronic devices home.
The Prosecutor said many people had been more afraid after the looting than after Irma itself. He said the woman, who already spent three nights in pre-trial detention, should be sent to prison for three weeks.
Lawyer Marlon Hart pointed out that his client had not cooperated with the people who had stolen the goods. She did not know them and had taken the items from the street, he said. In considering theft not proven, he called for community service.
The Judge considered misappropriation of the electronic devices proven. The hurricane was a disaster, but the looting that followed caused a lot of damage, harming St. Maarten’s reputation abroad, as well as faith in each other in the local community, he said.
“This is not a case of stealing food out of despair. This is pure greed, and there is no excuse for that,” the Judge said in sending the woman to prison.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72850-woman-looter-sent-to-prison-for-three-weeks