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Canadian gets conditional discharge after admitting third theft

Magistrates Court

A Canadian who came to Bermuda to set up a business was yesterday given a conditional discharge after he admitted stealing $510 worth of clothing.

Alexander Francey, 30, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to the theft after what the prosecution described as a “prolonged” process.

The court heard that Francey, of no fixed abode, entered Vineyard Vines on Front Street, Hamilton and walked around the store after leaving the bag at the store entrance.

He was seen putting on one of the store’s sweaters and jackets before sticking a package of underwear in his pocket.

The manager of the store asked Francey to collect his bag and later accused him of attempting to steal the clothing.

He eventually left the store after being confronted by several other staff members and the manager alerted police.

He was later arrested and confessed to police. The incident happened on December 11.

Francey, who come to the island in late November, initially denied the offence and was brought to trial, which started on January 30.

Francey took the stand yesterday and said that he left his bag at the front of the store because his previous abode had been infested with bugs and he did not want to contaminate the store by bringing in his bag.

He said that the manager called him to collect his bag before accusing him of theft.

Francey added: “She said that she had it in her mind that I was stealing, so she thought it was within her remit to put her hands on me.”

Francey told the court that the manager pulled on his dislocated arm and that he walked out of the store “for my own health and safety”.

He added that, although he had every intention to return the goods, he was confronted by police within minutes of leaving the store.

Francey admitted leaving the store without paying for the items despite his best intentions and switched his plea to guilty.

The court heard that Francey, a dual Canadian-Bermudian citizen, came to the island to start a new base for his Canadian company that ultimately fell through.

He last year admitted to the theft of $30 worth of tarpaulin, motor oil and fuel cleaner from Gorham’s on St John’s Road, Pembroke for which was sentenced to time served while remanded in custody.

He later admitted stealing more than $400 worth of groceries from the MarketPlace having previously denied the charge. He was again sentenced to time served.

Adley Duncan, for the Crown, said Francey would best benefit from a “community-based sentence” such as community service, though he admitted that this would require him to be remanded for another six weeks.

He added that a fine would also suffice, which Francey said he could get money to pay.

But Magistrate Kenlyn Swan released him on an 18-month conditional discharge and warned him that he could face jail time if he got into trouble with the law before October, 2024.

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