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A thief who stole an iPad which had been left on board an aircraft has been sentenced.
Dionel Berte took the item which had been reported as lost by the owner at London Gatwick
A tracker was left on the device, which showed it airside at the South Terminal of the airport.
But the 30-year-old, who worked for a third-party baggage handling company, took it back to his home address where he presented it as gift.
The device was tracked to his home address before the tracker was turned off.
Later, the device was taken back to the airport and left in a women’s toilet at Berte’s request, in an attempt to evade the consequences of his theft.
Berte’s account of what happened kept changing, but eventually he admitted taking it.
At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on November 1, Berte, of Apsley Court, Crawley, admitted one count of theft.
The court was told how the iPad was reported as lost on September 17 this year.
The tracker showed the device was still airside at the South Terminal, but a few days later Berte removed it and presented it as a gift, and claimed he had purchased the device online.
He linked the device to his own account after restoring the device’s factory setting.
Berte was first arrested on September 29, and was subsequently interviewed again on October 5.
After realising police were investigating the theft, he concocted the return of the iPad to the airport, in an attempt to make it seem as though it had been left in toilets.
He was arrested and interviewed again on October 18, where he admitted taking the item, and attempting to return it, in the hope that he would not be prosecuted.
In court, Berte was sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid work, £68 of compensation for an iPad case which was missing, £85 costs and a £114 surcharge.
The victim praised PC Michelle Robinson, the officer in charge of the investigation, for her excellent investigative work and professionalism.
PC Robinson said: “Berte thought that nobody would notice the theft, but the device was tracked to an address linked to him in Crawley.
“He then concocted stories about where he had obtained the device, as well as organising a bizarre attempt to cover his tracks by returning the iPad to the airport.
“This case demonstrates that we will pursue thieves and we will work in partnership with London Gatwick's security team to ensure offenders are brought to justice.”
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