The Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago, (TSTT), is sending a strong warning to those involved in the theft and illegal sale of its cell site batteries – that they will be found and held accountable. TSTT Security made a breakthrough on an online portal that was suspected of selling batteries stolen from TSTT cell sites. TSTT’s Officers were able to recover several of the stolen batteries in St Joseph and arrest one of the perpetrators.
Naresh Boodhoo, 21, from Bellevue Trace Acono Road, Maracas St Joseph, appeared before Magistrate Marissa Gomez in the 2nd Magistrate Court Tunapuna, on March 26, where he pleaded guilty to “Receiving Stolen Goods.” In making her judgement Magistrate Gomez stated that she took into consideration Boodhoo’s guilty plea and not wasting the courts time along with the fact that he was young and the maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment would tarnish his life.
However, she warned that Boodoo must be taught a lesson for his actions since he was also fined at a previous appearance in court. The Magistrate fined him $15000 to pay within three months or serve 2 years hard labour. Her final warning was that if Boodhoo was to appear before the court again he would be given the maximum sentence.
Boodoo’s arrest came about following investigations by TSTT’s Security department in which it was discovered that Boodhoo was offering the batteries for sale online. On March 24, a sting operation was put into action to make an offer for a battery from the online source. Boodhoo turned up at the designated location to conduct the sale.
The battery he offered was inspected for specific identification marks that it belonged to TSTT. It was determined that it was one of several batteries stolen from a cell site in Bon Air West on the morning of March 17, 2017. The TSTT officers took Boodhoo into custody and made their way to the St. Joseph Police Station.
While Boodoo was still in police custody, further investigations turned up the name of another resident of Maracas St Joseph that could assist with the investigations. The person of interest was not at home, however, officers received a tip on the location of other stolen batteries. They searched a bushy area off Acono Road, Maracas St Joseph and the team of TSTT officers alongside Allied Task Force officers, retrieved six other batteries which also belonged to TSTT.
This arrest along with the recovery of the batteries and the ongoing investigation into the other persons involved was a significant break for TSTT. The company had experienced a spate of similar incidents recently. In just the first three month of 2018, 15 batteries had been stolen, ten of these in February. TSTT officers are continuing to pursue leads with respect to the illegal sale of its cell site batteries and is sounding the alarm to those caught that they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.