Alleged shoplifter held behind bars after giving police the slip, twice

A man suspected of being behind thefts from two Zejtun stores was marched to court today after a month-long search during which he gave officers the slip twice. 

Bertram Zahra, 27 of Zejtun, was targeted by the police on the strength of CCTV footage.

He stands accused of having, in the afternoon of December 8, made off with coffee tins.

He managed to evade a police attempt to arrest him on December 22 and allegedly carried out a theft from a second store on December 29. 

The police finally managed to arrest him yesterday, after a struggle.

He was taken to court under arrest and charged with the two thefts, with having twice refused to obey legitimate police orders, with having threatened three police officers who were carrying out their duty as well as with being a relapser.

Upon being informed of the man’s criminal record and also in view of the difficulties faced by the police in tracing and arresting the suspect, Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace turned down a request for bail.

The man’s partner, seated at the back of the courtroom, butted in towards the end of the sitting pointing out that the accused shared her residence and had even fathered her 11-month old daughter.

‘The deed concerning the residence was signed by us both,’ the woman remarked, breaking down in tears upon hearing that her partner was to be remanded in custody.

Inspector Charlotte Curmi prosecuted.

Lawyer Leontine Calleja was defence counsel.