Indebted teenager robbed two supermarkets

POSTED: 04/19/12 12:26 PM

St. Maarten – Anslem Seebaran, 18, needed money because he owed somebody $500. In the Court in First Instance he claimed yesterday that because of this situation he was forced to take part in two armed robberies. On December 24 he robbed the Tesco supermarket in St. Peters, together with someone else; the robbers took $400, while threatening the store owner with a gun.

“I never thought I would be robbed that quickly,” the store owner told investigators; Tesco opened for business just three days before the robbery.

On January 2, Seebaran went along for another robbery, this time at the Golden Ocean supermarket on the L.B. Scott Road. This time the robbers threatened store-owners with knives, and they took a bit more than $800.

The young defendant was arrested on January 11 and he had been detained ever since. He told the court that he wants to pay back all the money he stole to the stores.

Prosecutor mr. Bart den Hartigh said he found it hard to believe that the defendant had acted under duress. And even if that was the case, he added, it does not justify the actions. “I look at the seriousness of the facts: robberies whereby knives and guns were used. I also take the defendant’s age into consideration. That is why I will demand a partly suspended sentence.”

The prosecutor demanded 4 years imprisonment, with 2 years suspended and 2 years of probation.”

Attorney mr. Shaira Bommel said that her client did not attempt to justify the robberies. “After his arrest he has confessed; there is no reason not to believe his story that he was threatened. He is aware that what he did was wrong.”

Judge mr. Monique Keppels considered both charges proven. She considered that Seebaran is a minor, that he is a first-time offender and that, it looks like he had his life in order. The judge did not know what to make of the claim that Seebaran had been threatened but she gave him the benefit of the doubt.

She sentenced the young man to 36 months, with 18 months suspended and 3 years of probation. During the probation-period, the teenager had to abide by instructions given to him by the Rehabilitation Bureau.

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