By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A FORMER Atlantis employee was fined over $1,000 yesterday for stealing $3,000 worth of merchandise from tourists at the Paradise Island resort while he was drunk.
Magistrate Kara Turnquest-Deveaux ordered 26-year-old Basil Damianos to pay $1,550 in fines after admitting to stealing various merchandise from three tourists on Friday.
Damianos was ordered to pay half of that sum yesterday in order to be released. He returns to court on September 9, at which time the difference should be paid. He faces a six month prison sentence if he defaults.
Three other men, who were charged with Damianos, had their charges withdrawn by the prosecution after the former pleaded guilty to the charges.
Before being sentenced, Damianos admitted to stealing one black knapsack containing one iPhone 8; one silver MacBook Pro laptop; a red, white and blue pair of Tommy Hilfiger slides; and one Burberry wallet together valued at $1,200 and belonging to a Mr Isaiah McClurkin.
Damianos further admitted to stealing one iPhone XS Max; one black iPhone case; one silver Vera Wang chain with a heart pendant; two iPhone ear buds; one brass coloured office key; one real estate book; a pair of goggles; one coin purse; 75 business cards; as well as a backpack collectively worth $1,735.
He also pleaded guilty to stealing a white and black pair of Jordan slippers worth $65 belonging to Jason Randoo. Damianos also pleaded guilty to dishonestly receiving all of these items.
According to a summary of the facts read off by the police prosecutor, Inspector Claudette McKenzie, sometime around 7.40pm on the date in question, three tourists made complaints to the Paradise Island Police Station. They reported that sometime around 6pm, they went to the Aquaventure Water Park where they placed their backpacks, sandals, laptops and other items. However, when they returned, their merchandise was missing.
As a result, an investigation was conducted in the theft. Two officers eventually cautioned and arrested four suspects in connection with the matter. A subsequent search of a blue Honda Civic revealed all of the items that were reported stolen.
While being interviewed under caution, Damianos admitted to moving those items. As a result he was subsequently further cautioned and charged. The stolen items were later identified by the complainants.
The other three occupants of the blue Honda vehicle, meanwhile, maintained their story, insisting that they were only catching a ride.
Bjorn Ferguson, who represented Damianos yesterday, noted that his client was a 10-year Atlantis employee, however, he recently got fired due to the stealing allegations against him. However, Mr Ferguson conceded that on the date in question, Damianos was drinking, and was not on duty at the time.
Damianos’ other attorney, Alexander Dorsett, further submitted that his client is the father of a little girl, and is now the primary caregiver since the child’s mother was injured and disabled during the June 30 mass shooting in Montel Heights that left numerous others injured.
Mr Dorsett further noted that his client has already “paid his pound of flesh” by losing a job he has had for 10 years.
However, Magistrate Turnquest-Deveaux noted that intoxication is not a defence to a criminal charge. She further charged that notwithstanding that Damianos “paid the ultimate price” in getting fired from his 10-year job, the country now has “another black eye to add to all the other black eyes that we get” whenever a tourist falls prey to a crime.
“So the rest of the country suffers because he decided he couldn’t hold his liquor or whatever it was that was happening with him?” she asked.
The magistrate subsequently fined Damianos $1,550 in fines for his actions, otherwise he would have to face a custodial sentence.