Thief stole gold chain from victim after town centre attack

A THIEF posing as a Good Samaritan stole a gold chain from a man who’d just been knocked out in Swindon town centre.

District Judge Joanna Dickens labelled Antonio Rhoden’s decision to pocket the £100 necklace unpleasant and horrible. She sent the case to Swindon Crown Court for sentence.

The 19-year-old can expect to be dealt with for breaching suspended sentence orders. He was spared an immediate jail sentence in 2019 over a brawl outside the Medina nightclub before being given 18 months suspended for two years in May causing actual bodily harm.

Appearing before Swindon Magistrates’ Court this week, Rhoden, of Abbey View Road, Moredon, pleaded guilty to theft from the person.

Prosecutor Ben Worthington described the theft as “unusual and unedifying”. Rhoden’s victim had been out in Swindon town centre on December 21 last year when he got involved in an argument with another man.

He was knocked out by the other man, Mr Worthington said. Rhoden was one of the bystanders who came to the man’s aid.

CCTV recorded the defendant gesturing towards a chain around the victim’s neck. While appearing to put the prone victim in the recovery position, another man slipped the £100 gold necklace from the man’s neck and handed it to Rhoden who pocketed the jewellery.

Interviewed by police, Rhoden said he could not remember much of the evening as he was drunk.

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Mr Worthington said the defendant was subject to a 16 month suspended sentence at the time. The jail time was imposed in July for affray – linked to a brawl involving up to 20 men outside the Medina nightclub a year earlier.

And the December theft came less than a month after the teenager appeared before the crown court in connection with an incident dating from June 2018. Rhoden was one of three men who had bundled a man they wrongly suspected of being a cannabis dealer into a car then threatened him with a dog chain and beat him with an ice scraper. Rhoden was initially given a deferred sentence, then handed an 18 month suspended jail term in May 2020.

Defending, Emma Hillier said the offence dated back a year, her client was looking for work and, although he had been drunk at the time the theft was committed, did not have issues with alcohol or drug dependency. He lived with his father and could pay compensation to the victim.

District Judge Dickens bailed Rhoden to appear before Swindon Crown Court for sentence on December 21. She said: “This is a really horrible crime. I have to commit it to the crown court for the crown court to decide.”

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