In what was the territory’s first jury trial held in V.I. Superior court since the Covid-19 closure, a jury found Ala Zatar guilty of felony grand larceny and possession of stolen property, according to the Department of Justice.
In a release Thursday, the Justice Department said Jury selection began October 25 and the trial began October 2021. Closing arguments were held today. The jury deliberated for two hours before returning guilty verdicts.
According to the police affidavit, a minor and her mother reported that on November 30, 2019, the minor, accompanied by her toddler sister went into Smart Mart Gas Station and convenience store located by Krum Bay Road to purchase miscellaneous items.
While shopping, the minor placed her iPhone XR cellphone, valued at $1,000, down on a box below the counter inside of the store. She then paid for the items and left the store, forgetting her cellphone on the counter. When the minor arrived home, she realized the cellphone was missing and called her cellphone number, however she noticed it was turned off.
She ran back to the store to search for the cellphone to no avail. She was eventually able to contact the store owner who reviewed the store’s surveillance footage and sent a clip to the minor’s mother. The footage showed Zatar taking the cellphone and placing it in his pocket. On December 25, 2019, Zatar was located at Tap and Still in Red Hook, advised of his rights, and transported to the Richard Callwood Command.
Sentencing for Zatar is scheduled for December 9, 2021.