Businessman arrested for Theft Print E-mail
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Thursday, 20 December 2012 00:00

Keith HarrisPolice have arrested and charged a businessman, 44-year-old Keith Harris. He appeared before Chief Magistrate and was remanded to prison following the issue of a number of committal warrants against him. In court, Harris was charged with as many as 6 criminal offenses including the alleged theft of two 40-foot containers.

When the police could not verify his real address, bail was denied.  He was remanded to prison until February 6th, 2013.

Harris first appeared before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer after he is being accused of staling female friend Maria Belezaire’s  HP laptop valued at $1,500. Belezaire reported to police that she loaned her laptop to Harris on December 3rd, 2012, and when she asked him for it, he told her that it was at a friend’s home being fixed.

She further alleged that she has been trying to get back her laptop for 3 weeks and when she inquired about the laptop, that’s when he gave her the number for the friend. Belezaire said that she then made a call to the friend inquiring about her laptop and that’s when the friend told her that he did not have her laptop.

After becoming annoyed by the back and forth with Harris over her laptop, Belezaire went to the police station and reported the matter.

In court, Harris was read a single charge of theft. Harris was unrepresented but he pleaded not guilty to the offense. He was granted bail in the sum of $1,500 plus a surety of the same amount.

That was not the end of his court appearance as he was additionally charged with 5 other criminal offenses. He appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith where he was charged with two counts of theft and two counts of handling stolen goods.

In the first theft charge read to him, it is alleged that Keith Harris between October 5th and 8th, 2012,  dishonestly appropriated $25,000 in cash, the property of Arturo Matus.

The second count was for handling stolen goods. Allegations are that on October 27th, 2012, in Belize City, he dishonestly assisted in the disposal of 150 sheets of plywood, valued at $9,499,88, the property of Judy Perez of Caribbean Tires.

The additional charge stems from allegations that between the 5th and 8th of October, 2012, he dishonestly appropriated, 12 40- foot containers valued a total of $120,000, the property of Marine Services Co. Ltd., He was also charged with a second count of handling stolen goods for dishonestly assisting in the disposal of the 12 40-foot containers.

After being read the criminal offenses, the Chief Magistrate was offering Harris bail in the sum of $1,000 surety plus a $500 cash bail but with conditions that he surrender his travel documents and that he not apply for any other travelling documents and that he must stay away from the virtual complainants in all the cases.

But Harris told the court that he cannot find his passport. He said he misplaced it sometime in October and that he has applied for a police report since he claims he lost his wallet with all his documents inside it.

Harris' court woes continued when the Chief Magistrate addressed civil matters for which several judgments had been made regarding companies that he owed money to.

These companies included businessman, Umesh Mahitani of Mikado. Mahitani told the court that Harris owes him rent for a home he owns in the Buttonwood Bay area and that he has fallen short of 2 ½ months’ rent. There was a judgment handed down in this matter by Magistrate Kathleen Lewis in October of this year where she had ordered him to pay but since the judgment, no payments were made. He now owes Mahitani $1,000 in rent.

 Harris also owes Joseph Taylor and Co. Ltd., but that amount was not disclosed in court as the owner had made a call to the court this afternoon asking the court to stand down the matter since he was unable to be present.

Harris also owes Caribbean Tires $983.00. A judgment was made on November 30th, 2012 in which he was ordered to pay this amount in the sum of $100 monthly until all was paid, but no payments were made since the judgment was handed down.

When asked why he failed to make the payments, Harris told the Chief Magistrate that he was expecting a business deal to materialize with an American company where he would have been given a contract for $80,000.00 US dollars, but after all the criminal charges were levied against him, he put the payments on hold.

Harris also owes Monica's Pawn Shop $5,031.50 and for this amount he was also committed to the Hattieville Prison.

Today, there is yet another committal warrant to be issued for Harris in which another woman of Belize City is claiming Harris has her computer and digital camera and has not yet returned them.

The woman has since visited the police station requesting court action to retrieve her items.

Both the civil and criminal matters against Harris have been adjourned for February 6th, 2013.

Before he left the court, an assessment was done to determine how much money he can pay each person weekly when he is release dout on bail. He told the court that as a driver, he earns $1,200 a month and he must factor into the equation, his monthly rent and utilities, as well as tuition. After looking at all his bills, Harris says he can only pay $50.00 monthly from his pay to take care of his outstanding fines.

Even after jail time, upon his release from prison, Harris has to make his payments to the companies he still owes.