Two men have been sentenced for handling stolen goods from the Rohais Motor Centre in 2019, however it appears the burglar - who took more than £6,000 worth of equipment before driving off in a customer's car - may never face justice.
Reece Andrew Edwards (26) and Alexander James Batiste (23) were given community service orders for handling stolen goods.
The family-run motor centre was burgled overnight on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October 2019.
Expensive equipment including several Pioneer car stereo systems and a MaxiSys diagnostic tool worth around £2,000 were taken, as well as the shop's till and some cash.
Thieves also ransacked the retail space before leaving the scene in a customer's White BMW 118D Coupe. The owners faced losses of £6,384.62, which has in the end been covered by insurance.
The BMW was found abandoned, unlocked but undamaged, in the car park of Summerland Nursing Home on Monday 14 October 2019.
Police work at Jeffrey’s Service Station on 8 November 2019 identifed Batiste’s car, which had one of the stolen stereo systems.
Pictured: A MaxiSys diagnostic tool like the one pictured was among the items stolen from Rohais Motor Centre back in October 2019.
In interview, Batiste said he had found the stereo system ditched by the road in Le Foulon. He accepted the circumstances were suspicious but had fitted it to his car anyway. He said he had only met Edwards two weeks before their arrest - around a fortnight after the burglary took place.
Edwards was linked to the scene during further investigation into two Snapchat videos on another person’s phone, against whom charges were dropped.
One of those videos appears to show Edwards’ face in a BMW filled with boxes of other goods and equipment. The short clip finds two men giggling and one of them saying “f*cking Beamer and that”.
A second video is from the perspective of the burglar going through boxes on the first floor of a building before panning across to a window and focusing on what appears to be the white BMW that was later taken.
In Defence Advocate Steel’s submission, Edwards’s role “was in assisting the retention of these stolen goods”.
He said Edwards’ “juvenile giggling” in the clip and the decision to film the video in the first place were “evidence of a lack of maturity” from his client, who had been “roped in” without thinking through the consequences of his actions.
“He was part of an anti-social peer group that had led him astray, one of whom was involved with that burglary.”
Pictured: Rohais Motor Centre Owner Mark Sauvarin.
Advocate Steel described his client, who was originally from the UK, as a hard-working man with a great work ethic. He had previously received a 40 hour community service order in September 2020 for making threats to kill a former partner.
Defence Advocate Phoebe Cobb said Batiste too was a hard-working member of the community and an essential worker during the recent lockdowns.
“He suspected the stereo system was stolen and took it anyway," she acknowledged. "Clearly it was not a responsible decision and he has expressed regret for it.”
There were developments in his personal life since November 2019 that had “fundamentally changed” his outlook on life and he was determined that the next time he came to Court would be to buy a house.
Royal Court Judge Russell Finch sought clarity on whether there were ongoing proceedings against anyone else, linked to either the burglary or the handling of stolen goods. Crown Prosecutor Jenny McVeigh told him there was not.
Judge Finch said offences like this are relatively uncommon in Guernsey and that it “needs to stay that way”.
He emphasised the Jurats’ verdict that the custodial threshold had been crossed, setting starting points for sentencing of 18 months for Edwards and nine months for Batiste.
After mitigation, the Court decided not to send either to prison.
Edwards received an order for 180 hours of community service, as a direct alternative to 12 months in prison, and Batiste received an order for 120 hours of community service, as a direct alternative to 6 months.
“You are not going down those steps today,” Judge Finch told the defendants in the dock.
“But your chance has now run out and you are not going to get another.”