21-year-old sentenced to 18 months after trying to break into two homes
On both occasions when 21-year-old Jakeel Stephenson Gittens tried to break into a house, vigilant neighbours caught him in the act.
He therefore admitted in court that he loitered on the premises with intent to commit burglary, and damaged two doors in the process, on November 25 last year.
Gittens, who has no fixed place of abode, was sentenced to 18 months for loitering and a further six months for damaging the doors. The terms will run concurrently.
The court heard that Gail Jones-Forde left home but stopped by a neighbour on the way back.
While she was out Gittens went to her house, took a chair from the verandah and a bucket from her garage, which he placed in the chair. He then put the chair under a bedroom window and removed two louvres.
A neighbour looked out and on seeing Gittens, asked him what he was doing. The young man jumped down, grabbed a rake and pretended to be raking leaves but the alert neighbour sent her daughter to call Jones-Forde.
When the homeowner arrived, Gittens was still there and when he was questioned he said he was “cleaning up the place”.
In the second matter, Antoinette Leon-Aboad secured her house before leaving, but Gittens pulled a latch from the verandah wall and proceeded to pry away the panelling from around a door. He also tried to open the locks with the latch but was unsuccessful. He ended up damaging two doors.
A persistent Gittens then removed the insect screen from a window but after he could not get in there either, he went to the back patio and began pulling at a door.That was when the neighbour who lived directly behind Leon-Aboad’s house saw him and called the police.
“That is the importance of a good neighbourhood watch, even if it is not an official one. We should be our brother’s keeper,” Acting Magistrate Seale said.
After perusing Gittens’ conviction card and realizing that he had previously broken into four houses, Seale chastised the young man, telling him of the discomfort he would have created by a break-in.
“You’ve turned that person’s life into one of turmoil . . . You don’t know what that accused person touched so the first thing you have to do is wash everything . . . then sometimes people are never comfortable again,” he said.
“You, at 21, are basically a notorious breaker. How you could be a reputed thief at 21?”
Gittens’ said he “went back too fast”.“I was trying to show off,” he said.
The magistrate responded: “You trying to impress wrong crowd . . . [Stealing] can only impress ignorant people. You have to take a hold of your life . . . you are not too far gone.”