Two men who denied breaking into Guyana Stores Limited and stealing nearly $4 million worth of household appliances and goods were yesterday granted bail after they both claimed they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It is alleged that Troy Harris of 548 ‘B’ Field, South Sophia and Adrian Daly of 198 Charlotte Street broke and entered the store on Church Street between February 22 and February 25 and stole a number of items, including 19 flat screen televisions, DVD players, refrigerators, hairdryers, and curtain sets. The total value of the items is $3.825M.
Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court 1.
Prosecutor Michael Grant relayed that on February 22, the manager of the store secured the building and went away. On February 25, as the store was about to be opened, the locks on the southern doors were discovered to have been cut open and the items missing from within. The matter was reported.
Grant said that police, acting on information received, went to a home in South Ruimveldt and met five persons there. Though the persons tried to escape, the defendants were caught.
According to Grant, the police have been trying to make contact with the other persons. However, these attempts have been futile. At the house, several of the articles stolen from the store were discovered and were subsequently identified by the manager as belonging to Guyana Stores. However, all of the articles were not recovered.
Grant raised objections to bail and stated that the seriousness as well as the prevalence of the offence were his reasons. He further added that if granted bail, the defendants might not return to court.
In rebuttal, Harris’s lawyer said that his client was not a flight risk. According to the defence, Harris had been released on station bail and had since presented himself willingly to the police when requested to do so.
The attorney further added that Harris was a taxi-driver who had been hired by two men to take them to South Ruimveldt. Unfortunately, the lawyer said, his client had been present when the police pounced upon the residence. Harris, he continued, had not been found with any of the articles on him.
When given the opportunity to speak, Daly explained that he had been passing through the area when he saw “the big men running” and had been mistakenly pulled in by the police.
He admitted that at the time he had in his possession a quantity of cannabis and had dropped it when he saw the police. He also claimed that he had been beaten by the police. After this final revelation, Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry requested that his claims be thoroughly investigated.
Prosecutor Grant’s objections to bail were overruled and the men were granted $300,000 bail on the condition that they report every week to an assigned police station.
The co-defendants will return to court on April 2 for statements.