A 49-year-old man from Birżebbuġa was placed on a three-year probation order after being found guilty of stealing 500 euro from a cash register in a St Venera grocery outlet in December 2018.
The man was charged in court with aggravated theft, holding the victim against his will, carrying an unlicenced firearm, and damaging third-party property.
The case goes back to 8 December of three years ago, when the accused. who was armed, entered the shop at about 7.00 p.m. and told the owner not to move. He then grabbed hold of the cash register and fled the scene with it.
It emerged in court this was not the first time the accused had visited this shop. On that same day, he had visited the shop twice, had selected a number of items, and had then told the owner he could not pay the bill.
Instead, he had offered his wife and another woman to the owner for the latter to have sex with them. The owner, however, turned down the offer twice and told the man to leave the shop.
Later during the day, the accused had turned up again, this time carrying a firearm, and after holding the owner against his will. left carrying the cash register.
During proceedings, the man pleaded guilty as charged, with the probation officer testifying the man was now in fixed employment and was even planning to set himself up in business.
In light of all this, and as the charges did not involve a sentence exceeding seven years’ imprisonment, the accused was placed on a three-year probation order.
The Court, Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit presiding. fined the man nearly 700 euro for carrying an unlicenced firearm in a public place, and ordered him to refund the stolen money to the owner.