A Long Look man will spend the next four years at Her Majesty’s Prison for stealing from tourists at Long Bay Beach on Beef Island last year.
Damien Farrell pleaded guilty to three counts of theft when he appeared before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo on Tuesday.
In handing down her sentence, Magistrate DaBreo noted his long history of stealing and the fact that he stole substantial amounts of cash from other people’s vehicles.
She said the aggravating factors clearly outweighed the mitigating ones. As such, she imposed a 16-month custodial sentence for each count.
For the first count of theft, Farrell was ordered to repay the $800 he stole. In default of not repaying, he will spend an additional two months in prison.
Farrel was ordered to repay the $65 he stole in the second matter. Not repaying comes with a default prison sentence of seven days. He was also ordered to repay $878 for the $1,320 in Canadian currency he took. An additional four months will be added to his sentence if he fails to repay the sum.
All his sentences are to run consecutively (one after the other).
The court heard that Farrell entered two unlocked vehicles while their owners were at the beach.
On December 1 last year, the complainant left his wallet containing $800 along with his camera bag in his unlocked vehicle and proceeded to the beach on Beef Island.
On his return, he noticed that the driver’s seat was tampered with and his wallet was not in the cup holder where he left it. A search of the vehicle uncovered the empty wallet stashed in the camera bag.
A report was made to the East End Police Station. Police launched an investigation and Farrell was subsequently arrested and charged.
During a police interview, Farrell confessed to stealing the money and said used it to party and to purchase clothes and shoes.
The court heard that days later on December 10, Farrell was at the same beach where he entered another rented car belonging to two female tourists.
Like before, the vehicles were unlocked and the complainants had left their purses containing $65, some $800, and Canadian $1,320.
A subsequent report was made to police. During their investigations, police lifted fingerprints belonging to Farrell from the complainant’s purses. He was subsequently arrested and charged.
In court, Farrell said he tore the Canadian notes into bits and discarded it after he was told that it could not be changed to US currency in the BVI.
I got tempted
Pleading to the court for leniency, Farrell said he took the funds because he was going through a tough time after Hurricane Irma.
“A little temptation got hold of me,” he said.
Magistrate DaBreo told Farrell that she gave him numerous chances to rehabilitate himself in the past. “You are not learning. You don’t think after Hurricane Irma we all went through tough times?” she asked.
Farrell was unrepresented.