N$300 fine for theft of hats

Home Crime and Courts N$300 fine for theft of hats

By Roland Routh

WINDHOEK – A 35-year old mother of two minors was fined N$300 or 30 days in jail for stealing two hats worth N$75,98. 

Hendrina Mutileni denied she intended to steal the hats but was convicted of theft by Magistrate John Sindano after a brief trial. She defended herself. 

According to Mutileni, she was in the shop on 18 May last year to buy a school uniform for her seven-year-old son who was on his way from the north to start school in Windhoek. 

She said she took the uniform and the hats and when she went to pay she realised that she did not have enough money on her. On her way to replace the two hats, she received an SMS that the bus her son was travelling in was involved in an accident. 

She said she then tried to call the driver of the bus and when he did not answer she panicked and became confused. 

“I do not know what happened, it is only when the security officer searched my bags and found the stolen items that I realised I still had them in my possession,” she told the court. 

On a question from the court as to why she had one hat with her paid items in a plastic bag and one hat in her handbag, she said, “I don’t know, my mind left me.”

During cross-examination by public prosecutor, Nasilele Siyambango, she said she might have mistakenly put the stolen items in her bag when she dropped the bag after she heard the news of the accident. 

On a question from the court as to why she did not just leave the stolen items at the till when she realised  she did not have enough money to pay for them, she said she wanted to take the items back to where she found them. 

Siyambango told the court that even though the accused said she was scared and confused after she received the text message about the accident, no reasonable person would put items in a bag if the intention was to return them. 

She said that if the accused was as confused as she claimed, she could have left the items anywhere in the store, but instead decided to put them in two different bags. 

The mere fact one of the hats was found in her handbag was incriminating in itself, she argued.