Crime — 04 October 2013

Three of four men were captured stealing 500 pounds of red kidney beans in Spanish Lookout, from the home of a Spanish Lookout farmer, Norman Dueck, 37, by a neighborhood watch group in the area, who handed the thieves over to the police. The incident occurred about 11:30 Monday morning. The five sacks with which the men were found, contained 100 pounds of beans each, with each sack of beans having a market value of $250. Together the sacks totaled $1,250 in value.

After being arrested by police, the three men — identified as Benjamin Hurtado, 49; Hurtado’s 16-year-old son, and Jaime Morales, 22, all of Los Tambos Village, Cayo District – were charged with theft. They were taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court yesterday to answer to the charge.

The Hurtados pleaded not guilty to the charge, and were offered bail of $1,000 each, while Jaime Morales pleaded guilty and was given a 6-month jail sentence. Benjamin Hurtado was able to meet bail, and was released from custody and ordered to return to court on November 28, but his teenage son was unable to meet his bail, and remains in custody.

He has since been taken to the Wagner Facility for juveniles at Kolbe Foundation in Hattieville, where he will remain on remand until he is returned to court in November, but he will be released if and when he meets bail.

Dueck told police that when he returned home from church, he saw a crowd of people from the neighborhood watch in his yard, who told him that they captured three of four men whom they had spotted in the yard. According to the group, they saw the men stealing Dueck’s belongings and quickly apprehended them. They chased the fourth man, who ran off, but were unable to catch him despite their best efforts, and he sprinted into the bushes and got away.

The group then retrieved the five sacks of beans and took them along with the three thieves to the police station in San Ignacio and handed them over to police.

The men were then ordered to return the beans to the area from which they had stolen them.

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