Though Shenedon Isha Matthews had $200 in her purse, the 38-year-old business woman still saw it fit to steal household items from Massy Stores, Kingstown, on Friday, January 29.
“You had money on you, why not pay for them,” Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett told the woman, adding, “Yet they have people (who) will make a case for her and tell you she had a need.”
The Senior Magistrate comments came after fining the woman $500 to be paid by February 26 or six months in prison, and ordering her to pay compensation of $211.38 to the store.
Matthews, who was unrepresented, had pleaded guilty when she appeared before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Monday. She had entered the store around 7:10am on the date in question, pretending to be a customer, removed the items from the shelf, went to the cashier, paid for some of them, but walked past the cash desk and attempted to leave without paying for the others which she had placed in a bag. She was intercepted by the security guard and handed over to the police.
Matthews broke down in tears, as she begged the Court for leniency, saying, “I just don’t know how this happen.”
Responding to questions from the Magistrate, Shenedon initially said she was unemployed, but later said that she sold clothes.
She said, she was originally from Georgetown, resided at Canouan for the past ten years. She is the mother of four children, ages 2, 11, 19 and 21. The 2-year-old lives with her on Canouan while the 11-year-old lives with his father at Campden Park.
Matthews also told the Court that she has a boyfriend in Canouan who is a fisherman and father of the 2-year-old. She said she came to the mainland from Canouan by boat on January 28 and was planning to return the following day.
The Magistrate noted that the offence was committed about 7:10am on January 29.
“You planned this thing before you went into that store. You went into that store with this intention,” Burnett told the woman, adding, “I don’t understand why a mother of four would want to embarrass and disgrace her family”.
He continued, “It is not a secret in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that cameras are all over this country. I don’t get you.
“Look what you have done; you have changed your life forever. By this act, your name is going to go all over the world. The world is going to read about you, that you went into Massy Stores and stole items valued at $211.28,” Burnett lamented.
“I don’t know if I could blame the devil for this one,” he quipped.