A young man who recently stole $5825 worth of mattresses and pillows from the Girl Guides’ Headquarters has been imprisoned for 18 months for burglary.
“Mr Watson has been a menace to the Girl Guides Association of St Vincent and the Grenadines. He has been sleeping on our premises without permission for months,” Chief Commissioner, Laura Browne submitted at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) yesterday, February 7.
Browne, as a representative of the victim in the case, was requested to be in court before 22-year-old Lasana Watson was sentenced.
Between January 28 and 31 the young man made off with 10 twin size mattresses valued at $3500; two single bed mattresses valued at $600; four double bed mattresses worth $1600, and five pillows priced at $125. These were the property of Kiwanis Club.
Browne further submitted to Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett that on several occasions they called the police because Watson was discovered sleeping there.
“…He would have left bedding on the veranda, he would have left clothes behind the building. On occasion I went to the morning early and found the water running,” she said.
The Girl Guides Chief Commissioner also pointed out that it is a problem “for us to have young women and girls attending that building and you’re not sure whether he’s in the back…”.
“The secretary has on several occasions accosted him,” she added.
Browne said that the police have removed him from the area several times, cautioned him, but “he has returned without fail.”
She said that something needs to be done.
The magistrate noted that he could sentence Watson for the matter before him only.
According to police investigations, the Guides Hut in Paul’s Avenue was secured during the weekend of January 28 to January 31, 2022. On the following Monday morning the secretary noticed that the mattresses and pillows were not where they usually were but thought nothing of it, as she assumed someone was using them.
On February 1, Browne entered the building and heard a door slamming, and registered the sound as originating from an area downstairs. She looked out and saw someone had entered the building. It was at that point that the missing mattresses and pillows were known to have been stolen.
The police became involved and they carried out investigations. Watson was of interest to them.
Seven mattresses were recovered from a store in middle street, Kingstown and later that day they met the defendant at Paul’s Avenue. He was carrying $825.
A search of his home revealed one single size mattress.
The 22-year-old admitted his wrongdoing to the officers, who put it in writing.
The magistrate, after listening to the facts that were read by Prosecutor, Corporal Corlene Samuel, asked “They were recovered from a business place so what is that telling you?”
The prosecutor noted that she wasn’t seeing anything else before her. It would seem that she was referring to charges, such as handling stolen goods.
Burnett commented that the owner of the business is just relaxing.
He contemplated that if one runs a business, and someone comes to them with seven brand new mattresses, “What does that tell you?
I’m just asking questions…I don’t know, I’m just asking questions.”
“Anyhow that’s a matter for the police but I just mentioned it to the extent that it came out in the facts,” he explained.
However, he also said that he does not like the idea that they were found there and nothing was done.
It was said that the police cautioned the businessperson because of the information about how it happened.
The magistrate then asked for the value of the items not recovered, and this was given as $2950.
Watson told Burnett that he had sold the items that were not recovered by the police.
In response to a question on his motive, the defendant said “I wanted to help my mom pay her rent.”
“So you go into the building, you break into the building..” Burnett began, but Watson said that the door was open.
Using this logic, the magistrate countered “The door was open yeah but it’s not your building. It’s not your place.”
“So you made…Unless you had a vehicle, you made several trips?” Burnett asked him, and he said yes.
When it came to how much he sold the mattresses and pillows for, the young man indicated the $825 in court. However, he also said he spent some.
The matter was stood down while the court covered other matters.
In the end the court concluded that a term of imprisonment of 18 months would be appropriate. The legislation on the offence of burglary allows for a maximum sentence of 14 years incarceration if the person is convicted at the High Court level.
The $825 is to be confiscated.