By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 55-year-old man who said he broke into people’s homes and stole their belongings to support his cocaine addiction was arraigned on Friday on a string of burglary charges and accused of rape. He will appear before the chief magistrate next week for sentencing.
Charles Pennerman, also known as Charles Forbes, was accused of breaking and entering a woman’s West Bay Street home during the first week of February. The prosecution said he stole $121 in cash and a silver Mac laptop which was valued at $1,000.
During his hearing before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt on Friday, Pennerman owned up to the allegations brought against him. Still, he said, he only committed the offences because he was suffering from a drug addiction that “caused him to do things he shouldn’t”.
According to the prosecution, the owner of the home told officers an unknown person broke into her residence through her kitchen window sometime between February 5 and 6 and stole a laptop and a sum of cash.
The court was told that the police visited the residence a short time later and dusted for fingerprints. Pennerman was arrested sometime in August in connection with the crimes. When they tested his fingerprints at the Central Detective Unit, the officers discovered they matched the ones that were found at the crime scene. During an interview with police, Pennerman said he might have committed the offences because he was trying to get money for drugs.
Yesterday, Pennerman was also charged with burglary, rape and stealing in relation to a string of incidents he was accused of committing over the span of five years.
The prosecution alleged Pennerman broke into a home on Auster Lane between January 29 and 30 of 2015 to steal $10,000 worth of property from a woman. They further alleged he broke into a Garden Hills Estate home sometime between February 14 and 15 that same year.
In March 2015, Pennerman was accused of breaking into a home on Constitution Drive and stealing a $300 watch. Around that time, he was also accused of breaking into another residence in Chippingham and attempting to rape a 21-year-old woman while there.
In 2018, Pennerman was accused of breaking into another home on Constitution Drive and raping a 22-year-old woman.
On January 6, 2019, Pennerman was accused of burglarising another Constitution Drive home. During October of that same year, he was further accused of breaking into a Charlottesville residence to steal a $500 leather bag.
Most recently, it is alleged Pennerman broke into another woman’s home on Constitution Drive on August 4. It is also alleged he assaulted Police Constable 3724 Dorsette that same day and resisted his arrest.
During the hearing, the defendant was not required to enter a plea to the charges and the cases were adjourned for service of voluntary bills of indictment (VBIs) for November 4,11 and 18.
When given an opportunity to speak, Pennerman told the magistrate he had been using “crack cocaine” for 30 years and had tried to quit and admit himself to the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) on two occasions, but was not successful.
Pennerman added he was “tired (of) using drugs” which placed him on the “wrong course” and said the last time he was convicted, a judge ordered him to attend drug counselling, but he was never admitted to SRC. He insisted he could become a “better person” if he got the help he needed. He added he was willing to plead guilty to all of the charges brought against him to get it all behind him.
As a result, Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt deferred the sentencing for the housebreaking and stealing charges to which Pennerman pleaded guilty on August 13 to see how the court could facilitate getting the defendant help for his drug addiction, as well as give the prosecution an opportunity to find out if they would be able to expedite the proceedings.
In the meantime, Pennerman was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.