After a bench trial that lasted six days, the Superior Court found a man guilty of theft for stealing two cases of beer from Twin Supermarket because he and his companions ran out of beer during a drinking session.
Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho found habitual offender Vicente Sablan Basa, 69, guilty of theft in the case where he was caught on camera taking two cases of beers from Twins Supermarket back in March 2021.
Although the court has yet to sentence Basa in this case, Basa was still remanded to Department of Corrections to serve a 20-day sentence after the court revoked his previous probation.
According to Camacho, the court found all the government witnesses credible and determined that, on March 27, 2021, after drinking with friends and then running out of beer, Basa did go to the Twins Supermarket in Dandan without any money with the intent to take the beers without paying for them.
Witnesses determined that Basa entered Twins Supermarket, took two cases of beer and walked out of the store without paying for it.
Basa was caught on video taking the beer, leaving the store without paying for it but was chased by the store supervisor. Basa then lied and said he already paid for the beer, and quickly threw the cases of beer into the car and got into the car.
The court made a reasonable inference based on the video of the store parking lot—that Basa already knew he did not have any money; the driver of the car, Felix Castro, did not park the car in the normal fashion bu,t rather, waited with the engine on and facing the car in such a way as to make a quick getaway.
The court also found that Basa had already opened and consumed a portion of a beer can when their vehicle was stopped a few minutes later in Finasisu.
Basa also admitted to taking the beer and he did not have any money on hand, even asking the police officer if they could take him home to get some money to pay for the beer.
“The court finds that at the time that Basa took the beer he had no intention of pay for it. By taking the cases out of the store without payment, and further opening a can of beer and consuming it, Basa permanently deprived the owner Twins Supermarket of its property,” Camacho said.
At the time when Basa took the beer, he was on probation related to another criminal case and was ordered to obey all the CNMI and federal laws, and not to possess or consume any alcohol beverages.
The bench trial was done on Aug. 4 to 5, 2021 and then Oct. 6, Oct. 27, Oct. 29, before finally concluding on Jan. 5, 2022.
The government was represented by assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas while Basa was represented by assistant public defender Vina Seelam.