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23.04.2004 Tabloid News

Thief exposed by his fallen mask

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Tema, April 23, GNA - A thief whose mask fell off his face and exposed him to his victim, but managed to snatch her handbag containing a Nokia cell phone and more than one million cedis, has been jailed five years in hard labour by the Tema Circuit Court "B".

Benjamin Vormewor, mason, 32, pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing at a knifepoint and using a hammer to break open a car door.

Prosecuting, Police Chief Inspector Edith Nutakor told the court presided over by Mr Stephen Teye that on April 19, 2004, at about 16 hours, Mrs Esnault Gerard, a French national, resident at Old Ningo was returning to her house from Accra on a Hyundai pick-up with registration number GW 4957 P.

She said on reaching a distance of about 200 metres to the house, the accused blocked the road with cement blocks and timber boards stacked with nails.

Just as the woman stopped in a state of panic, the accused, then wearing a mask emerged from a hideout, attacked and broke the right side door of the vehicle with a hammer.

Chief Inspector Nutakor said while the accused put his head into the front seat of the vehicle to pick the woman's hand bag, which contained a new Nokia 3410 mobile phone valued at 1.3 million cedis, personal travelling documents and a cash of 1,080,000 cedis, the mask covering his face fell off, thus exposing his identity to his victim.

Nevertheless, the accused succeed in taking the handbag and run into the bush towards the beach. The woman managed to drive pass by the blockade to her house, raised an alarm and directed those who came to her rescue towards the course the accused person took.

Chief Inspector Nutakor said the complainant's husband and some neighbours mobilise themselves and with the help of their dog, they traced the accused person to his hideout in a dilapidated house at the beach and arrested him.

The amount of 1,080,000 cedis was retrieved from his pocket, but he had caused damage to the mobile phone and hid it in a toilet basin. The handbag, the hammer and a knife were also recovered from the house and he was handed over to the police for investigation where he admitted the offence upon interrogation.