Shopkeeper offered sex in lieu of payment for groceries

Shopkeeper offered sex in lieu of payment for groceries

Customer came back third time and allegedly robbed outlet

A man offered a shopkeeper sex with two different females in lieu of payment for goods from his shop, the court heard on Monday.

The customer allegedly went there a third time and held up the Santa Venera grocery shop at gunpoint on December 8.

Themistocles Attard, 46 year-old from Birżebbuġa, was arraigned before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit accused of theft, carrying a firearm without a licence and relapsing, among other charges.

Mr Attard’s lawyer, Mario Spiteri, pleaded not guilty on his behalf, saying that the man was fighting a drug problem and had a wife who had been seriously ill for years.

Taking the witness stand on Monday, shop owner Joseph Saliba said the man had first gone into the shop and chosen items costing around €6.

Mr Attard said he did not have enough money to pay but offered him sex with a woman he claimed was his wife. The shopkeeper refused and told them to leave his shop.

The court heard how Mr Attard had then returned to the shop with another woman, and again offered sexual relations, this time in exchange for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, with the shopkeeper again refusing the request.

Returns to outlet holding a 'black item'

Mr Saliba said that later that evening, the same man entered the shop holding a black item in his hand.

Instructing him not to move, Mr Attard allegedly reached over the counter and made off with the shop’s cash register which contained some €500 in cash and silver.

The police were able to track him down, confirming his identity from the get-away car’s registration.

Prosecuting inspector Lydon Zammit said Mr Attard had confirmed all the details pertaining to his visits to the shop with the exception of the claim that he had been carrying a weapon.

He said the accused had cooperated with the police and had showed them where he had disposed of the stolen cash register.

The case continues.