The City Constabulary has declared that it will need the combined efforts of their entity and the Guyana Police Force to stem the incidence of criminal activities at the Stabroek Market.
In an interview yesterday, City Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Andrew Foo noted that it is no secret that the Stabroek Market has been recognized as a hotspot for criminal elements, making direct reference to the bartering and sale of stolen articles that occur at the location.
He was also directing his attention to the ‘under the clock operations’ of a particular group of men who it is said would trade in marijuana, and would knowingly purchase stolen items.
Foo yesterday reflected that this issue has been escalating over the years and has posed quite a task for the Constabulary to deal with because of lack of resources. While he applauded the Guyana Police Force for the manner in which they have been tackling crime around the city, he stated that for crime to be targeted effectively, it will take a combination of both entities to do so, especially in the Stabroek Market area.
He said the fact that robbers/thieves know they can freely sell stolen items; this would have greatly increased robberies in the Stabroek area, given that the location is an extremely busy space, always occupied by bus operators, vendors and even minibus touts as an extension.
When asked about some cell phone repair dealers inside the market who would customarily purchase stolen cell phones and other items for retail purposes, he agreed that this issue too may have contributed to the present stigma attached to the Stabroek Market.
He explained that for some time now, the Guyana Police Force has been providing them with leads, but what is really needed is their prolonged presence in the market which is extremely busy on a daily basis. He said that the police have the manpower, dogs, vehicles and weapons to stage successful campaigns, but his department is lacking in such areas, thus limiting their power to fight crime.
Foo said a campaign last week has managed to rake in a few leads and arrests, but noted that the success of such exercise also depends on the cooperation of vendors at the Stabroek Market Square.
A Kaieteur News reporter visited at least two telephone repair stalls in the Stabroek Market on three separate occasions under the pretext of wanting to purchase cellular phones, and on each occasion, the reporter was readily offered, at surprisingly low prices, items that were in many cases second hand pieces that were repaired and being sold.
A few persons who were very ‘hush hush’ in their responses did let on however that the phone repair stalls in the market were the locations where most of the ‘under the counter deals’ would occur. As the reporter stood at the stalls making enquiries, several young men came and went and attempted to sell cell phones, most of them showcasing a level of fear and nervousness during the process.
The reporter explained that what actually occurred was that they would converse in hushed tones with the dealers and the items would then be removed from concealed places on their person. After being examined by the dealers, a price would be struck (sometimes with great disagreement from the sellers), who eventually would boil down, since they appeared to be in desperate need of the cash.
LAWS ON STOLEN PROPERTY
As the laws governing stolen property would dictate (Knowingly Receiving, Buying, Concealing), if a service member buys, receives or conceals stolen property, when he/she knew that the property was stolen from another person, then it is an offence and he/she can be punished as per the provisions under the law.
If someone tells you that the goods are stolen, then you cannot purchase them. If you do, then you could be charged with receipt of stolen property, which is a crime. Also refuse to store goods if you know they are stolen.
If you have received stolen property, you could be charged with a crime. You can also be charged with receiving stolen property if you knew the property was stolen and concealed, sold, or withheld property from the owner or aided in concealing, selling or withholding property from the owner.
If you end up unknowingly possessing stolen goods, the worst that happens is that the items are taken from you and given to the rightful owner… However, the police can arrest you if you reasonably should have known that the item was stolen. For example, if you buy a laptop worth $1,000 for $50 then you may be charged.
It is illegal to sell stolen property. However, you’ll run afoul of the law by selling such property only if you do so “knowingly.”… Your attorney will help prepare you for talking with the police and for explaining how you came into possession of the stolen goods in the first place.
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