A man dubbed the “hundred dollar thief”, who targeted elderly women by claiming to be delivering money and goods from their relatives, has been caught and is now behind bars.
Ricardo Cortez Browne was sentenced to 36 months in prison today after admitting to 12 counts of stealing $1,890 in cash and one count of intent to commit theft.
All of the Woodbourne, St Philip resident’s victims were between the ages of 67 and 91. Only one was male.
The 54-year-old, whose picture was being circulated on social media after he was caught on a security camera, appeared before Chief Magistrate Pamela Beckles in the Oistins Magistrates’ Court after police investigations into a string of thefts across the island led to his arrest. He pleaded guilty to committing the offences between September 23 last year and last month.
Beckles took issue with the fact that Browne, who had more than 50 convictions, including 15 for fraud and over 30 for theft, had taken advantage of seniors.
“The courts are here to protect the vulnerable members of the society,” she said, after asking Browne how he would have felt if his mother or grandmother been victims of the kind of crimes he committed.
According to Constable Gazelda Knights who prosecuted the case, Browne went to the seniors’ homes claiming to have parcels and money for them, sent by family members.
He was very friendly in his approach and in some instances, named the relatives who sent the items and managed to gain the trust of his victims.
After entering each home, he would ask the elderly people for money before handing over the packages. In some cases, he said he needed Barbados dollars in exchange for US cash.
Once he got the money he fled.
There were also instances where Browne took the money from his victims, said he was going to his car to get the parcels, but never returned.
In another instance, he approached a vendor on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital grounds and offered to sell her US money. When she refused, he offered to buy items but said he needed a $100 bill changed. When the female vendor handed it over, Browne scampered.
In yet another case, the thief offered to return to one of his victims with ointment to help with her arthritis.
An off-duty constable reportedly caught up with Browne at his home.
Explaining his actions, the thief told the Chief Magistrate that he had a cocaine problem and wanted to go to Verdun House.
Beckles assured him that he could go, but only after he served his time at Dodds.
For the five times he committed theft between last September 23 and December 7, Browne was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
For the other seven counts of theft, occurring between January 21 and March 19 this year, he was given an additional 18-month term to run consecutively.
The unemployed man was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the sole charge of intent to commit theft.