A Belgian court has spared prison time for two 'African youngsters' found guilty in a string of violent, armed robberies, instead issuing fines and sentencing them to community service, according to local media.
The perpetrators, aged 18 and 19, embarked on a crime spree in Antwerp in September and October, stealing cash, electronics, and food while armed with large knives.
In one incident, a pregnant woman managing a candy shop was forced to turn over 200 euros to the men as they brandished blades.
Subsequently, they attacked an employee at a mobile phone store, making off with two iPhones.
"The defendants also robbed cigarettes and crisps from a night shop in Otterstraat, and knocked a pizza courier to the ground to steal his pizzas," HLN reports.
The public prosecutor reportedly sought prison sentences of up to 26 months for each defendant, citing their disregard for the law and predatory behavior.
“This is a group of very young perpetrators who have lost all sense of standards,” the prosecutor said. “If they need a new mobile phone or cigarette, they just take it. They do not realize that this has major consequences for the victims.”
“They do not hesitate to commit violent thefts, even with regard to pregnant women.”
However, the court apparently did not feel the same way.
“On Monday the young men appeared before the correctional court, where they were given a strikingly mild sentence,” SCEPTR reports.
“The judge decided not to impose a prison sentence, but held it to a work sentence for the two robbers. In addition, they also have to pay moral compensation of 1,500 euros to the pregnant manager of the candy store.”
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