Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2023. 11:03 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: A Belize City man last weekend learned a hard lesson about misplacing his valuables – but authorities were able to catch those who partied on his dime.
Daniel Middleton of Belize City misplaced his Atlantic Bank debit card sometime on Friday, July 7, which showed a positive balance of nearly $1,000 as of 5 p.m. Friday evening.
But later that night, as Middleton learned the next morning when he called the bank’s offices to have it blocked, someone had used the card 12 times at Five Brothers Night Club on East Collet Canal to the tune of $688 and at Foxx’s Nightclub on Cemetery Road for another $49.
Investigations led to 24-year-old Salvadoran national Kevin Josue Gomez Rivas and 24-year-old Nicaraguan national Aser Nelio Rigby Perez, both living in Locke’s Alley.
They were arrested and jointly charged before Chief Magistrate Jayani Wegodapola with two counts of theft from a bank card, dishonestly appropriating a total value of $737 without the permission of the card’s holder, Middleton.
Perez pleaded guilty and was fined a total of $1,200 and cost of court on each count, while Rivas pleaded not guilty and was offered bail pending proof of residency in Belize.
This afternoon, each man was read Immigration-related charges. Rivas pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the conditions of his visitor’s permit, which he had not extended following September 25, 2018, after receiving the permit less than a month earlier on August 27. He was fined $1,000 and cost of court due immediately, in default six months’ imprisonment.
Perez pleaded guilty to illegally entering Belize in March through the banks of the Mopan River at Benque Viejo, not being an approved port of entry, and was also fined $1,000 and cost of court. Both men were ordered removed by the Immigration Department.
Later, Rivas had his theft charges withdrawn and now owes only the Immigration fine but will still be deported, but Perez must serve time concurrently on both the theft and Immigration charges before being deported to Nicaragua.
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