‘Stolen’ iPad lands teen in trouble

courtAn 18-year-old waitress of 9th Avenue, Durants, St James is on trial charged with dishonestly receiving an iPad between November 10, 2011 and December 9, 2011, knowing it to be stolen.

Renisha Madisa Armstrong is maintaining her innocence in the case that is being heard by District ‘A’ Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant. When the trial got under way today, the first and only witness to testify was Andrea Alleyne, the administrative manager with PriceSmart.

Alleyne, who has worked with the membership warehouse club for 15 years, eight of them in her present position, informed the court that her duties included overseeing the information technology [IT] system. Responding to prosecutor Nevile Reid as he sought to lay the foundation to the case for the Crown, Alleyne explained that anyone purchasing items at the store, with the exception of the food service section, must first have membership.

She said that proof of membership was through the presentation of a picture identification card issued by the company.

The witness testified that every transaction that was made at the cashier was recorded upstairs and down-loaded into the computer system within minutes.

“I would be able to see it upstairs within minutes,” she added.  The PriceSmart official told the court she was on duty on  November 12, 2011 and had reason to check the computer system because one of her colleagues informed her that a member had shopped with a credit card which appeared suspicious.

“I realized the membership card used and the credit card were different . . . it was a business membership owned by Hanna Properties that was used; it was registered to Cherise Morris,” the witness said.  Alleyne said the name on the credit card and the printed sheet was Lady Maurene Miller, but the credit card slip was signed by a different person.  She said she could not understand the signature on the slip, so she used another method to get to the bottom of the matter.

Alleyne testified that when she checked the computer system she discovered that Maurene Miller had shopped earlier that day and had used a MasterCard to pay for the items.

In response to the prosecutor, she noted that it was not the same card used in the matter before the court.

She pointed out that it was a Visa card that was alleged to have been used by the accused. The witness said that because Lady Miller had shopped the same day, she was able to pull her transaction and the credit card slip and match it to the visa card signature.

“The signatures did not look the same,” she pointed out. The PriceSmart manager testified that the items allegedly bought by the accused included an iPad2 worth $1,099.99, adding that no payment was received through the Visa card for the purchase because no authorization from Lady Miller was granted.

Pressed to say if she was certain of the name Maurene Lady Miller, the witness said she was not now sure of the first name, but was almost certain it was Lady Miller. She was shown her written statement which was prepared five years ago, and it read Maurene Mills, not Miller. The trial will resume on August 8.

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