Starvation Leads to St. Croix Restaurant Break-In, Suspect Arrested

Facing robbery charges, a local vagrant claims he was compelled by hunger to burglarize Jubilee Restaurant; caught stealing cash and beverages

  • Staff Consortium
  • June 11, 2024


ST. CROIX – A man described as a known vagrant is facing robbery charges after telling police that he broke into a restaurant because he was “starving”.

According to court documents, police were alerted to the robbery by the owner of Jubilee Restaurant, who visited the Ancilmo Marshall Command police station last Thursday morning to make a complaint. She told officers that she'd left the establishment locked on Wednesday night, and returned at around 9:45 a.m. on June 6.‌

The woman said she noticed the point-of-sale system shifted out of place and the cash box missing. A tablet device had also vanished. After taking note of the missing items, the Jubilee Restaurant's owner said she also noticed the kitchen window was open.‌

Surveillance video taken at around 4:30 that morning showed someone who appeared to be male removing the screen from that window, sliding it open, and entering the premises. About four minutes later, the footage shows the individual leaving the way he came, removing the cash box and a case of beverages as he departed. The man’s outfit, as captured by store cameras, included a hat with a blonde wig underneath, but no shoes.

‌The woman told police that in her efforts to identify the intruder, she asked at a local community organization. Lumoses Donawald was named as the individual who broke into the restaurant, and he was brought in to the police station for questioning.

Mr. Donawald told police that he had no fixed address, and that he had been hungry to the point of starvation. Having some knowledge of the restaurant’s security setup, he said that he went to the establishment at around 11 p.m on Wednesday and entered through an open kitchen window. He stole the iPad then, he told officers, and sold it for about $40 to someone near the seaplane area in Christiansted.‌

After that, Donawald said he met up with another vagrant, who convinced him to go back to the restaurant for more items. On the second trip, he said that he stole a pack of soda and the restaurant’s cash box, which according to the owner contained just over $100 as well as some checks. He told officers that he kept the checks, gave the other man the cash, and the two split the sodas among them.

He described what he had been wearing at the time of the burglary, down to the blonde wig, which he said was attached to the hat. He told police that he had turned over the checks to a representative of the community organization, who had been looking for him after learning of the robbery.

Donawald was arrested and charged with grand larceny and third-degree burglary, and remanded into custody to await his first court appearance.

On Friday he appeared before Magistrate Yolan Brow Ross, who found probable cause to uphold both charges. Bail was set at $25,000, posted as an unsecured bond, and an arraignment date of June 26 was scheduled.

Details of the court’s pre-trial release order, which would contain any possible directives for social support for Mr. Donawald, were not made available to the public as of press time.

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