Just a month since being released after a five-year prison term, Martin Tiamson Castro Jr. is back in jail, this time for allegedly stealing a cell phone from a store. This time, footage from a surveillance camera allegedly caught him committing the robbery.
Castro, 31, was taken before the Superior Court on Tuesday for a bail hearing on a theft charge. The camera footage led to his identification and subsequent arrest for allegedly stealing a cell phone from the I-Zone Internet Café in Chalan Kanoa on Monday.
A cash bail of $10,000 was imposed on Castro; preliminary hearing is on July 18 at 1:30pm.
Assistant public defender Cindy Nesbit was appointed his counsel.
Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas told Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho, who is handling the case, that Castro had just been released from prison last month.
According to police, an officer responded to I-Zone Internet Café on Monday afternoon after receiving a call about a theft incident. The officer met with the owner, who showed the officer a surveillance camera’s footage of a man, later identified as Castro, stealing a Galaxy Samsung S7 Prim cell phone worth $399.
In the footage, Castro was standing next to the glass counter when he reached across the counter, grabbed the phone, placed it in his right pocket, and left the store. At that time, Castro was wearing a pair of short black pants, a pair of black slippers, and a brown T-shirt with a word “tourism” printed on it.
The officer described Castro to other police units and instructed them to arrest him. Less than an hour later, another officer found Castro at Aiko’s Ramen in Susupe. The I-Zone owner positively identified Castro as the person who stole the cell phone.
When asked about the cell phone, Castro allegedly replied that it’s somewhere in Chalan Piao.
The Superior Court sentenced Castro to five years in prison in October 2012 after he pleaded guilty in connection with a robbery at QQ Car Rental in June 2012.
Castro, who was then on probation, was caught on camera robbing the car company and sexually assaulting a female employee. Castro removed the surveillance camera from the establishment, then threw it out a window.
The camera, however, was not destroyed as it landed on a grassy area. Police recovered it and reviewed the footage, leading to Castro’s identification and arrest.
At that time, Castro was still on probation in connection with a 2010 burglary case in which he also pleaded guilty. He also pleaded guilty in another burglary case in 2005.
In September 2010, then Associate Judge David A. Wiseman sentenced Castro to a year in prison for stealing a laptop.
In 2009, police arrested him for trying to break into one of the rooms of San Antonio Elementary School.
In 2003, he and two minors were arrested after police identified them as those who burglarized and stole several items from a law office of then-retired judge Edward Manibusan. Manibusan is now the CNMI’s attorney general.