Homeless man who stole to survive gets 5-year jail term

A homeless man who told police he stole to survive was condemned to a five-year jail term after pleading guilty to a string of thefts running into hundreds of euro.

Abdullahi Jimale Hassan, a 32-year-old Somali national, was taken to court on Tuesday, facing charges over 10 instances of aggravated theft committed throughout a two-month span, starting on March 18.

Various shops and unattended vehicles in the Ħamrun and Marsa areas had been targeted, with the items reported stolen including five mobile phones and various amounts of cash.

The thefts had taken place when shop attendants failed to keep a close watch on cash-registers or when drivers dropped by for some quick purchases, leaving their cars momentarily unattended. 

The circumstances showed that these were “opportunity crimes,” lacking premeditation, with police sources appealing to the public to avoid leaving their cash-registers or cars unattended, even if just for a short while.

The accused pleaded guilty, confirming his plea even after being granted sufficient time by the court to reconsider.

Upon that admission, the court, presided over by magistrate Rachel Montebello, declared the accused guilty and condemned him to a five-year effective jail term. 

Inspectors Wayne Camilleri and Matthew Galea prosecuted.

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