Man accused of stealing €54,000 in a house where his fingerprint was found is acquitted

The Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has declared the accused innocent of a burglary in a home in San Juan de la Rambla, from which €54,000 and jewellery worth €3,500 were stolen. The decision was made as a fingerprint of the accused was found on a window that was believed to be the point of entry.

According to the ruling accessed by EFE, it was not established beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was the actual perpetrator of the crime, as the evidence presented was insufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the Constitution.

The accusation against him was primarily based on the discovery of the fingerprint, but the judges pointed out that this type of evidence has been questioned by legal precedents.

The fingerprint was found on the outside of the house’s plinth facing the street, leading to the speculation that it could have been left there innocently by the defendant, possibly just leaning on it briefly. The ruling emphasized it would have been different if the fingerprint had been found inside the house.

During the recent court hearing, the accused denied any involvement in the theft, citing the passage of seven years since the incident as a reason for not remembering his whereabouts at the time. He claimed to have gone to a nearby institute to have breakfast with his brother.

The accused suggested that the fingerprint could have been left there as it could have happened “anywhere else on the island where I leaned.” His memory lapse was attributed to the fact that his initial statement was made three years after the events occurred.

The homeowner, a businessman with over 200 employees, had suspicions that one of his employees might have been responsible for the theft. This suspicion arose because some employees occasionally collected their salaries from his house, knowing he kept significant amounts of money. He also felt they were mocking him shortly after the incident.

The victim of the theft stated he did not recognise the defendant, never recalling having seen him before, and his records did not indicate any prior employment of the accused.

The accused’s criminal record, including instances of five similar crimes, was not considered conclusive evidence pointing towards his guilt in this particular case.

The burglary occurred on April 27, 2017, when the homeowner left the house at 10:30 in the morning and returned at 2:30 in the afternoon, discovering the interior in disarray.

Inside a safe, €47,000 was found, and another €7,000 along with various jewellery, valued at €3,500, were discovered inside a closet.

The Prosecutor’s Office demanded that the accused return the allegedly stolen money and face a four-year prison sentence for the charge of burglary in an inhabited dwelling. Additionally, he was to pay for the stolen jewellery and the damages amounting to around €300 caused to the property.

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