“The devil made me steal her purse.”
That was the excuse of repeat offender, Hanif Riley (Jr), 36, of Goodwill when he appeared before a Roseau Magistrate’s Court on June 30, 2014 on a charge of theft.
He now has to pay a fine of $750 to be settled in one month or spend one month in prison if he fails to do so.
According to information revealed by the court, Riley pleaded guilty to stealing a purse containing $750 belonging to a female dentist who resides at Checkhall, Massacre on June 5, 2014.
Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Valda Powell, told the court that at about 7:30 pm the complainant and her boyfriend were traveling to Roseau along the Bath Estate Bridge where they met the defendant who asked for a “drop off” to Roseau.
The following day the complainant went to work at the Portsmouth Hospital and when she reached for her purse in her vehicle, she realized it was missing.
Later that day she received a call from her brother informing her that the purse was found in an empty lot near the National Bank located in Roseau.
A report was made to Police Headquarters.
Police officers immediately went in search of Riley but their efforts were unsuccessful.
He was later found in custody at the Police Headquarters and was informed of the report made against him.
“Officer I was almost by the apartments in Bath Estate when the lady stopped for me,” he told the lawmen. “As I shift to sit down the purse fell by my foot and I took it… I opened it and took the money inside and threw the purse in an empty lot at Hillsborough Street. I went by Pappy and purchased some soft drinks. I am sorry I let all you down.”
When questioned further he said, “The devil made me take her purse. I just got a job at St Jame’s Guest House and will pay her back.”
He revealed to the court that he was going through a ‘bad phase’ and that was the reason he stole the purse
“In the last five years that’s the second time I am coming there,” he said in reference to being taken to court.
Magistrate Bernard Pacquette reprimanded Riley saying he was giving hitchhikers a bad name.
“Not everyone can pay a bus .. that’s why we extend ride to people. The lady gave you a ride, did you a favor. You’re giving Hitchhikers a bad name,” he said. “All of us were raised up poor, but this is no reason to steal.”
Riley was also sentenced to three months in jail hard labour but this was suspended for one year. If he gets into trouble with the law within one year, he will be sent to the slammer for three months.
Five years ago he was sentenced to two months in prison for theft.