Peanut thief makes quick buck off sleeping vendors
Upon observing a businessman and his employee who fell asleep after a days’ work, a passer-by took the opportunity to steal from them.
The offence was caught on camera, otherwise, Clive Castello of Spring/Biabou, may have succeeded in making a quick buck without any repercussions.
As the footage only revealed an unknown individual, Castello may have also succeeded had he not returned to the same stall in what seemed like a testing of the waters for another theft.
At the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on March 16, the businessman told Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett, that Castello had come by his stall and commented “You dey up man”, to which he responded, “Yeah, I dey up.”
He described this man and his dress code to the police, he says, and they apprehended him as he walked on the streets.
The reason why this question had triggered Sayers to call the police is because earlier, on March 2, at 12am, his stall had suffered a $540 loss when a sack of peanuts was swiped from it. On this date, the businessman was on a cell phone call in his van, and his employee was packing away the stall, when Sayers fell asleep in his van, and the employee fell asleep on his bench.
At 3am Sayers woke up to find that he possessed one sack of peanuts less than before.
The matter was reported to the police, who, during their investigations, obtained video footage from Courts which showed an individual taking up the sack.
Sayers commented to the magistrate that if he wasn’t awake when the defendant visited his stall again, he didn’t know what else may have been missing.
The sack of peanuts was never recovered, and Castello apparently told the police that he sold them, and had obtained $180.
The defendant informed the court that he was at Green Hill on that night, and went to the capital to go to ‘country’. He spent a few hours in Kingstown “relaxing”.
In explaining the background to his actions, the tailor told the magistrate that he had a stomach operation in June 2020 which slowed him down. Additionally, that his wife got a stroke which affected her left side and resulted in her being unable to do tasks.
He said they are living in a rented house and money is short, that he doesn’t really do “them stuff” but times have gotten really rough.
“But don’t forget you know,” the magistrate addressed him, “what was done to Mr Sayers, it could not have been something planned by you, because the man just happened to be there packing up when he fell asleep so… that’s a different type of theft altogether.”
While walking in Kingstown, “I sure you have passed under Courts,” Burnett told the defendant, “and you have seen this young man along with a few other young guys making a living for themselves.
“…It’s one thing to steal, but here is a man, young guy, trying to make a living, not only for himself, but he is employing other people…” the Senior magistrate pointed out.
“He had a hard day, he fell asleep, and his employee as well, and you come across and you saw them sleeping and that’s all you could do?” the judicial officer asked the defendant.
“…Had it not been for the technology that is in Kingstown now, where cameras are all over, you might have been able to get away with that; not anymore,” the magistrate said.
Castello asked that he be given two months to repay Sayers the $540.
“The man is working for his living, you now go and you stole from the man and the man must sit back and wait two months…,” Burnett queried, adding that if he had his way the money would be payable forthwith.
Sayers indicated that he has given people chances in the past, but that he is in need of the $540 during this time.
Castello was ordered to pay the sum of $540 by May 28, and if he fails to do this, he will instead spend six months in prison.
A fine of $1000 will be paid to the state by June 30. If he does not pay the fine, his punishment will be nine months’ incarceration.
If he defaults on both payments, the sentences will run concurrently.