A Brazilian national was yesterday handed a 12-month prison sentence after he admitted to stealing a quantity of gold and diamond jewellery and other items worth in excess of $2M from his roommate.
The charge read against Jonatas Santos Ferreira at the Georgetown Magis-trates’ Courts stated that between April 13 and April 14, at Georgetown, he broke and entered the dwelling of Marcial Coelho and stole a quantity of gold and diamond jewellery valued $2M, an Apple iPod, valued $180,000, and an HP notebook, valued $100,000, all belonging to Coelho.
Prosecutor Bharat Mangru said that Ferreira came to Guyana to work with Coelho, who is also a Brazilian.
According to Mangru, the two lived in the same apartment but occupied separate rooms. Mangru said that Coelho had secured his room and left for work and upon his return he noticed his apartment broken and his room ransacked.
A search was then conducted and he realised that the jewellery and electronics were missing.
Ferreira was subsequently arrested after the break-in and theft were reported.
The prosecutor said that the man was apprehended at Timehri as he made his way to return to Brazil.
A search was conducted and a ring and pendant, together valued $330,000, were recovered in his pants pocket.
When given a chance to speak, Ferreira’s interpreter, after conversing with him, said the accused man explained that he never broke into Coelho’s home but admitted taking the jewellery.
According to the interpreter, Ferreira said he never took the other items mentioned in the charge either.
Relating Ferreira’s account of what happened, the interpreter said that the accused was at a restaurant when someone turned up and told him that Coelho’s house had been broken into.
The court then heard that Ferreira left and went to the house, where he observed that the place had been broken into and ransacked.
He said that he took the jewellery but nothing else, after which he left.
In determining a sentence for the crime, Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, who heard the case, noted the seriousness and prevalence of the offence, the monetary value of the items stolen, the fact that a position of trust between the parties was breached, the fact that the defendant tried to escape after committing the offence and the fact that items were recovered on his person.
The Magistrate said that the mitigating factor she took into account was the fact that the defendant pleaded guilty to the charge at the first given opportunity, saving the court considerable time in otherwise having to conduct a trial.
As a result, she informed Ferreira that he would be sentenced to a period of imprisonment of 12 months.