Suitcase thief says he was chased out of welfare department
A middle-aged man who has no place to live but finds things to steal, now has a shelter over his head.
Michael DaCosta Layne, 52, was handed two prison sentences when he appeared before Magistrate Douglas Frederick in the District ‘A’ Magistrates Court yesterday.
Layne, who was accused of stealing property valued at almost $1,000 on two separate occasions, was sentenced to nine months for stealing a suitcase with various items in it, and three months for the theft of a bicycle. The two sentences will run consecutively, which means he will spend a total of 12 months in prison.
On January 19 this year, Layne stole a suitcase, two wheel earrings, two rack ends, a pair of brake pads and three duffle bags that totalled $390, all belonging to Leroy Parris, owner of Parris Insurance Agency on Roebuck Street, The City. Parris also imports car parts from Trinidad and Tobago for retailing.
According to police, Layne entered Parris’ office around 9.30 a.m. on the day in question, and asked him for money to buy something to eat. He also told the businessman he was involved in an accident and was awaiting insurance money. Parris informed Layne that he had already given out money that same morning and did not have any more to give.
The complainant therefore advised him to seek assistance from the Welfare Department, but Layne reportedly told the businessman he had been there before and got chased out.
It was then that Layne left the complainant’s office. However, when he got outside the building, he took up the suitcase containing the car parts and the bag and left.
He was later spotted by police on Pinfold Street with the suitcase. When police searched it, they said they found the bags and car parts.
Asked him to account for the property, he replied: “I went and asked the man for money to buy something to eat. He sent me to the Welfare Department and when I was leaving the place [Parris Insurance Agency], I took up the suitcase. “When I lift it, I realized that it had something and I said that I going and sell that.”
On May 1 last year, Layne also stole a bicycle worth $600.