A 39-year-old Goodland St Michael man admitted stealing a sweetbread and $2.75 from the Cake and Pastry Factory on January 4. However, Richard Eric Fields, from 1st Avenue Lennox, offered an explanation.
“On that day I was hungry, Sir,” Fields told Magistrate Douglas Frederick when he appeared in the District ‘A’ Magistrates Court to answer the charge yesterday. “I know I shouldn’t have done it,” he added.
Evidence led by police prosecutor Sergeant Martin Rock revealed that on the day in question, the establishment had some items on display on a table and a freezer.
A supervisor, who was keeping an eye on Fields, saw when he took a drink from the freezer before proceeding to the table where he removed a sweetbread.
Fields then calmly left the shop without paying. When the supervisor followed him outside and confronted him, “he just got on his bicycle and rode away,” the prosecutor said.
“How old are you?” the magistrate asked Fields.
“Thirty-nine,” he replied.
“And you never got in trouble before?” the magistrate asked. “That means something is happening with you, for you to wait until 39 to now start doing this.”
The magistrate told Fields it would have been better if he had asked the owner for a bread, rather than steal one.
Further probing by the magistrate revealed that Fields had not worked for a long time and lives in a small house without the basic amenities.
“I can’t let you continue with this type of behaviour nor I can’t fine you, because you can’t pay a fine,” Magistrate Frederick remarked before ordering Fields to perform 140 hours of community service, by April 1.
If it is not done well, Fields might have to return for alternative sentencing. The unemployed man was then granted $1 000 bail.
When his surety came forward, the magistrate pointed out to Fields that he still had some measure of support. His relative agreed that things were hard with Fields but, even so, said he was surprised by his behaviour.
After questioning the surety, the magistrate advised that even though he was not working steadily, it would be helpful to take Fields along with him to avoid a repeat of this incident.
“You have to look out for family; if he can work with you and get something – however small – to put in his pocket, it would keep him out of trouble and it is better than stealing,” Magistrate Frederick advised.