By Farrah Johnson
Tribune Staff Reporter
Two men who were found with an assortment of stolen tools and electronics were sentenced to nine months in prison on Friday.
Tavaris Moss, 28, and Kendall Raphael, 24, appeared before Magistrate Samuel McKinney after they were accused of dishonestly receiving two 12” speakers, a DVD player, an equalizer, an amplifier, three cell phones, two WiFi boxes, a tablet and a bolt cutter belonging to Frederick Smith sometime between September 8 and 9.
The pair were also accused of dishonestly receiving an impact drill, a porter cable air compressor, a nail gun and a skip jigsaw among other items belonging to Arthur Young sometime between September 6 and 7.
During the arraignment, both defendants pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving.
The court heard Mr Smith had discovered his 1996 Nissan car was broken into while it was parked in front of his residence in the early hours of the morning. He told police the culprits had broken one of his car’s side panel glasses and stolen over $1,000 worth of electronics. The court was also told Mr Young told officers his vehicle had been broken into while it was parked at his residence and locked and secured. The prosecution said when Mr Young went outside on September 7, he discovered his 2011 Hyundai had been broken into and someone had stolen a number of his work tools.
As a result of their complaints, police launched an investigation. On September 9, officers on mobile patrol in the Nassau Street area observed a yellow Toyota Passo which was occupied by two men who were driving in a suspicious manner. They beckoned for the car to stop and informed both men that they would be searched in reference to dangerous drugs and firearms. The prosecution said when the officers searched the car in the presence of the defendants, they discovered the stolen items. Moss and Rafael were subsequently arrested and transported to the Carmichael Road police station. In an interview with police there, they admitted to receiving the stolen goods but denied stealing the items themselves.
During the hearing, the defendants' attorney told the magistrate his clients had accepted responsibility for their actions. He also said both men had cooperated with the police when they were arrested and said their actions were a “crime of necessity” because they felt like they had no other choice.
In response, Magistrate McKinney noted that both of the defendants had been convicted for similar offences in the past and had already spent a year in prison before. He also noted how the law states when a person is convicted of a crime of a similar nature, the penalty increases each time the person is charged. Still, Magistrate McKinney said he considered their counsel’s plea in mitigation and sentenced Moss and Raphael to nine months in prison. He further ordered both defendants to pay a $1,000 fine and warned them if they didn’t, they could risk spending an additional three months in custody.