Discharge for man who stole $90,000 boat

A man who admitted stealing a $90,000 boat was shown leniency in Magistrates’ Court.

Wendelle Lightbourne, 29, was given a three-year conditional discharge — the maximum length — on the condition that he pay more than $14,000 in compensation.

Lightbourne, from Devonshire, pleaded guilty on Monday to the theft of Victory is Mine, a 29ft fishing boat.

He also admitted that he obtained maintenance services from Rance’s Boat Yard and A&P Marine by claiming to be acting on behalf of the owner of the boat.

The court heard that Lightbourne contacted Rance’s Boat Yard to book a complete overhaul of the boat on June 15, 2018.

He used the alias of Jason DeSilva and claimed to act on behalf of the Rosewood Tucker’s Point Resort, who he said had bought the boat to add to its fleet.

He also told the boatyard that a man named Wendelle Lightbourne would deliver the keys to the boat.

Maria Sofianos, for the prosecution, said that Lightbourne delivered the keys dressed in the uniform of his employer, the Department of Marine and Ports, and gave the company permission to collect the boat.

Victory is Mine was pulled from its mooring near Hinson’s Island, Warwick on July 1 so it could be cleaned and repainted.

Lightbourne also contacted A&P Marine and asked them to visit Rance’s Boat Yard to collect the boat for engine work.

He visited the company on July 10 to provide what he claimed was a purchase order from Tucker’s Point for $59,682.30 and they arranged to have the boat delivered for repairs.

Lightbourne also gave Rance’s Boat Yard an e-mail address to send the bill.

Magistrate Tyrone Chin heard that Andre Place, the owner of Victory is Mine, went to Rance’s Boat Yard on July 23 and asked about the $90,000 boat, which he had reported stolen a week before. He was told that the boat was at A&P Marine and Mr Place contacted police the next day to provide a statement.

Police arrested Lightbourne on July 25 at A&P Marine when he came to pick up the boat.

Ms Sofianos said that the work on the boat cost $14,091.

She added that, because of Lightbourne’s early guilty plea and previous clean record, she did not oppose a conditional discharge.

Ms Sofianos said: “The defendant is still relatively young and, like I said, he has no previous convictions.

“He is gainfully employed with the Bermuda Government and I think be able to retain his employment with a conditional discharge.”

Bruce Swan, for the defence, said that Lightbourne was a “hard-working young man” and a young father who had made a mistake.

Mr Chin ordered Lightbourne to pay the fee in monthly instalments over the three- year discharge period.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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