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Man jailed for two years after being caught during fifth break in at bistro

by Barbados Today
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Restaurant burglar Elliott Orlando Blackett, who was caught red-handed on the last of several occasions he broke into a St Michael establishment, has been sentenced to two years behind bars.

The 63-year-old self-confessed cocaine addict, who said he committed the crime because he was diabetic and “most of the things were to eat”, was carrying a bag containing nine packets of chicken and five bottles of juice when he was apprehended in the patio of Neil’s Bistro in Belleville, on October 1.

It was the fifth time he had targeted the establishment over a three-month period.

Blackett, of no fixed address, reappeared before Acting Magistrate Krystal Delaney on Thursday, three days after admitting to trespassing into the establishment on July 3 and stealing grocery items, including 14 cuts of steak, six packets of shrimp, 25 pieces of chicken, 12 boxes of heavy cream, a half bag of potatoes, eight bottles of juice, and various quantities of asparagus, carrots, broccoli and zucchini.

Between August 22 and 23, he stole a box of fish and sweet potatoes; while during the period of September 21 to 25 he got away with a case of ketchup, pasta, garbage bags, assorted hand towel rolls, a bottle of spray, two bottles of oil and 20 bottles of juice.

He returned to the restaurant on October 1 and stole nine packets of chicken and five bottles of juice.

The stolen items, which belonged to Neil Pickering, had a total value of more than $1 000.

On each occasion Blackett burgled the establishment, the business owner was alerted via his cellular phone, through a prompt of his security device, that his restaurant had been disturbed.

However, it was on October 1 that he saw Blackett on the video feed and notified police. Lawmen caught the criminal in the act and when he was questioned he admitted to the previous burglaries.

“Not even the security system could prevent you from breaking into the place,” Magistrate Delaney told Blackett who had also pleaded guilty to breaking and entering The Girls Guides Association between September 27 and 28 and stealing a thermometer gun, a bottle of coffee, a bag of sugar, a box of tea bags and two boxes of milk, valued at $199 and belonging to David Waithe.

The complainant had secured the premises, but when he returned the following day he found the building’s entrance door damaged and the items missing.

Blackett has 16 prior convictions, all of them for dishonesty, dating back to 1975. His last recorded offence was in 2011, although he claimed it was 25 years ago.

Addressing the District ‘A’ Traffic Court on Thursday afternoon, the convicted man explained that he had medical and other issues.

“I am a person who uses drugs, cocaine to be exact. Cocaine does make me do a lot of those things that I would not normally do because of the ravages of cocaine.

“I want to ask the court to look on me and see that I am not that bad a person . . . but again because of these drugs. I would like to have some help with it. I would like to ask the court to not send me to prison because prison is not the answer. [Instead I ask] for some time at Verdun House or the mental hospital so I can recuperate,” Blackett said.

However, Magistrate Delaney pointed out that five of the six burglars were committed against one person, and Blackett’s crimes had met the threshold for a custodial sentence to be imposed.

She then imposed a two-year sentence for the first burglary of Neil’s Bistro and two years each on the subsequent break-ins at that establishment, to run concurrently.

A nine-month sentence, also to run concurrently, was imposed for the Girl Guides Association burglary.

Blackett was also ordered to enroll in the drug rehabilitation programme at Dodds Prison and any other programmes that would assist in his rehabilitation.

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