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Convicted burglar aspires to work as a security guard

Convicted burglar aspires to work as a security guard
Atiba Phillips

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A defendant convicted for possessing a stolen phone, who also has other convictions to his name, surprised the court this week by revealing that his desire is to work as a security guard with a leading firm.

At the time, Atiba Phillips, 35 years old of Redemption Sharpes was facing a maximum term of two years in prison for handling stolen goods, namely one BLU cellphone, a phone case and Digicel SIM card worth $390.

This charge stemmed from an incident on January 31, when one Daniel John of Green Hill was driving through Redemption Sharpes at 3 am when his car shut down. While he was attempting to start his vehicle, a man wearing a face mask approached him. He asked this man to help him push his vehicle and this man agreed. While pushing, the man asked if he could use John’s phone, and he was allowed to do so. John told him to put it back inside the vehicle when he was finished. They succeeded in getting the car started and John thanked Phillips before driving away. When he got home, he realized his phone was missing.

Later, his daughter started receiving rude messages from a person using her father’s phone, who identified himself as “Atiba”.

She posted to Facebook in an attempt to find the Atiba from Redemption Sharpes who took her father’s phone. She wrote “he took my dad’s phone and now he is messaging any female on his phone trying to hook up.”

Attached to the post were screenshots of messages sent from her father’s phone by one Atiba/Tiba. (See one of the screenshots below at left)

The matter was reported to the police, who went to Phillip’s home to execute a search warrant. While they were searching, Phillips ran from them and succeeded in escaping. His mother handed over a phone to the police.

On Tuesday, the court was conducting its usual inquiries, and on the matter of employment, Phillips told Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett that he is not working but had applied for a job with security firm Guardsman.

When asked what was the nature of the work he had applied for, he said that it was a security position.

“Let me tell you straight up, you are not a good candidate for security and I can say that based on your previous convictions before me starting from 2016 to now, burglary, theft, burglary…,” the magistrate told him.

“…When the magistrate speaks like that people who read it may want to think that we’re pulling down people – no sah,” the judicial officer said, but informed him that rather he was levelling with him.

The owner of the stolen phone who was also present, informed that his phone had cracks before, but it wasn’t completely smashed as it was in the courtroom. It can no longer turn on, the back of the phone is missing and so is the SIM card.

All of his contacts were lost to him.

“I really appreciate the push he give me, but don’t tek my phone,” John said.

On Phillips’ list of previous convictions, it was noted that he had been convicted for burglary on June 2, 2020. For this crime, the court had ordered him to pay $500 by the September 30, 2020, or spend two months in prison. A fine of $1500 was also imposed, to be paid by September 30, with a default of 12 months in prison.

The defendant said that he hadn’t paid this, and it was also revealed that a warrant had been prepared for him.

“So right away you are going to prison, or should have been there already for that offence of 2020. I can’t waive the sentence of a court,” the magistrate told the defendant, who had been providing reasons for why he hadn’t paid, and ways in which he would pay.

“…Only the court of appeal can do that – so with regard to that sentence, that has to be effected right away,” the magistrate said.

For the recent matter of handling stolen goods, a fine of $700 was imposed, to be paid by April 6. If he does not pay this, he will have to spend three months incarcerated.

Convicted burglar aspires to work as a security guard