Jury finds Woonsocket man guilty of stealing 10 cases of tequila worth more than $2,900

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Woonsocket man has been found guilty by a jury in Kent County Superior Court of larceny for stealing 10 cases of Don Julio tequila worth nearly $3,000 from his West Greenwich employer in 2021.

 

On February 15, 2024, following the conclusion of a two-day jury trial before Superior Court Justice Luis M. Matos, the jury found Brenden Phang (age 25) guilty of one count of larceny greater than $1,500 and less than $5,000.

 

The defendant was released on bail pending a sentencing hearing on May 3, 2024.

 

“Theft doesn’t usually elicit the same public response as some other crimes, but it matters greatly to the victims, and it matters greatly to us,” said Attorney General Neronha. “This defendant stole thousands from his employer, violated their trust, and broke the law. Yet this verdict is undoubtedly less painful than his hangover would have been had he gotten away with it. I want to thank the West Greenwich Police Department for their hard work in this case.”

 

During the trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant stole 10 cases of tequila, worth a total of $2,936.66, from his West Greenwich employer, Centrex Distributors, on July 21, 2021.

 

That evening at approximately 11:15 p.m., a Centrex employee sat in his vehicle near a loading door of the distribution center. He witnessed two men drive a tan SUV into the loading area, with the SUV’s rear hatch ajar. The defendant then exited the vehicle and began quickly loading cases of alcohol into the hatch of the truck. As the employee approached the SUV, he saw multiple cases of tequila already in the hatch, at which time the employee yelled at the men to stop. Then, the defendant threw the employee against a parked trailer in the loading area before leaving the scene in a forklift while the driver of the SUV sped away.

 

The employee recognized the defendant as a fellow employee and reported the incident to his boss, who then contacted the police. Investigators arrived and the employee witness positively identified the defendant, including what the defendant was wearing at the time of the crime. When officers arrested the defendant, he was still wearing the clothes the employee described the thief as wearing in his statement.

 

“Holding accountable those who commit theft is an important part of maintaining public safety and trust,” said West Greenwich Police Chief Richard N. Ramsay. “I am thankful for the hard work of our officers and investigators, as well as the Office of the Attorney General, for their investigation and prosecution of this case.”

 

Special Assistant Attorney General John Malloy of the Office of the Attorney General and Officer Michael Ruzzo of the West Greenwich Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.

 

 

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