Headline — 13 May 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks
Cop convicted of theft

He was found guilty of stealing a number of items, including a cellphone, a gun and $1,500

In just three weeks, in different cases, three police officers have been convicted of serious offences in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court.

Two of the convicted cops were sentenced to prison terms for firearm offences, and today, in a separate case, a third cop was convicted, this time for theft. He has been remanded to await his sentencing from Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. That has been set for tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10:00 a.m.

PC Brandon Hertular, who was charged with burglary and theft, was found guilty on the two charges.

But his attorney Anthony Sylvestre told Amandala that he is planning to appeal the conviction, especially the burglary conviction. Sylvestre is contending that his client entered the home from which the items were stolen as a police officer, and not as a trespasser.

The charges against Hertular date back to March, 2012, when the Chicas family’s home was reportedly invaded in an apparent burglary and a number of items, including a black Glock P19 .9mm pistol with serial number PYG 313, with a magazine containing 15 rounds, were stolen.

The firearm has a value of $2,500, and is the property of Alfonso Chicas.

At the time of the incident, Hertular, who was wearing a camouflage uniform, was one of two men who were positively identified by the victim. The men were not on duty, but apparently used their police uniforms to commit the robbery. They did not wear masks.

This morning, the Chief Magistrate told Hertular that she had found him guilty of the offenses.
The prosecutor in the case, Donelle Hawke, had proven all the elements of the offenses, Smith told Hertular. She added that the evidence against Hertular was overwhelming, and that’s why she found him guilty.

On March 4, 2012, police charged Hertular and another man (who was never identified) for entering the house of Shirley Chicas as trespassers. Chicas’ house is located at #6112 Buttonwood Bay, in Belize City.

Hertular was convicted of stealing a multicolor sling purse, an LG red cellular phone valued at $125, a driver’s license, a social security card, Alfonso Chicas’ gun, and $1,500 cash, the property of Shirley Chicas.

In addition, Hertular was also charged with the theft of a silver Samsung cellphone, valued at $250, the property of Santiago Chicas.

The two thieves also stole a black Apple iPhone valued at $3,000 and $100 in cash, the property of Alfonso Chicas.

According to the Chicas family, they were at home when the two men came to their home and said that they were police officers.

Shirley Chicas, in her testimony, told the court that the men were dressed in camouflage and they identified themselves as police officers.

After searching the home, the men seized the .9 mm Glock pistol and some cash, which they claimed they were going to take to the police exhibit room pending the outcome of the investigation of some alleged robberies.

In his defense, Hertular claimed it was not he who went to the Chicas family’s home, and that at the time of the alleged incident, he was on duty, working a shift with some police officers. He told the court that after he finished working he went straight to his home and went to sleep.

But the Chief Magistrate did not believe Hertular’s assertion.

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