A 29-year-old El Socorro man who pleaded guilty after he was caught red-handed by police robbing a Charlotte Street jewellery store of almost $1 million in merchandise last year was sentenced today to four years’ hard labour by a Port of Spain magistrate.
Esau Nicholas Rampersad of Farouk Avenue, El Socorro, was represented by attorney Seana Baboolal. He pleaded guilty to the charge of using personal violence and robbing Samuel Edwards of 302 assorted rings, 155 chains, 169 wrist bands and 148 watches at his Charlotte Street business place on October 24.
Altogether, the items were worth $935,591.
Baboolal said Rampersad, who has a five-month-old baby, was remorseful for his actions and knows now that what he did was “absolutely wrong.” She said at the time, Rampersad was overwhelmed by economic pressures at home, and reminded the magistrate that minimal violence was used – he held Edwards in a chokehold and pushed him the ground – and there was no weapon involved.
Magistrate Nizam Khan, in sentencing Rampersad, said while no weapon was used, he used violence against a 71-year-old man and had gone to the jewellery store dressed as a security guard and had a knapsack and duffle bag to store his loot, suggesting that the robbery was premediated.
“The court understands that the world and TT are going through economic difficulties and many people have lost their jobs, causing economic and mental trauma. But one cannot resort to stealing.
“There will always be challenges, economic and emotional hardships. But robbery has become the order of the day in TT and it is quite distressing to citizens, especially business people who have invested time, money and energy into their businesses,” Khan said.
The magistrate said while he longed for the day when there was no crime, he said, regardless, respect must be shown for people’s property.
Khan allowed Rampersad to briefly embrace his weeping mother before police handcuffed him and escorted him out of the courtroom.