Gem thief admits 3 burglaries

2012-12-13 00:00

A YOUNG man was jailed effectively for 12 years in Pietermaritzburg yesterday after pleading guilty to three housebreaking and theft incidents.

In one incident, he and his accomplices stole gold jewellery worth R1 million.

Gavin Chetty (19) pleaded guilty to breaking into the Church Street flat of Vijiumbal Padayachee on September 19 last year, breaking open a locked wardrobe and removing boxes of gold jewellery.

He was accompanied by two accomplices.

Chetty said they had sold the jewellery to a Nigerian national for R57 000 and divided it.

One of the trio — a 17-year-old youth — pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, plus four years suspended, at the Ekhuseni Youth Centre.

Chetty named his other accomplice in his statement as Aadil Ally, his co-accused.

Chetty also pleaded guilty to breaking into the Raisethorpe flat of Neelan Chetty on July 21 and August 2 last year. On the first occasion, he said, they took jewellery and a Sony Playstation which they sold for R9 500, and the second time they removed a television and DVD player which they sold for R2 500.

He said he used his share of the money to buy drugs.

Sentencing Chetty, regional magistrate Rose Mogwera said it was an aggravating factor that there was more than one incident of housebreaking involved. In addition, Padayachee had made a victim impact statement that indicated that the break-in and theft of her jewellery had a devastating effect on her life.

Prosecutor Rene Padayachee was informed that only R20 000 worth of the jewellery was recovered. Apart from the monetary value, it was of great sentimental value to the owner as it had been passed down her family for generations.

Since the incident, Padayachee’s health had deteriorated and she no longer felt safe or trusted people, the court was told.

“You and your friends also displayed a complete lack of respect. You took other people’s things and sold them for peanuts, looking after your own selfish interests.”

Mogwera said people were entitled to keep their valuables at home in the belief that they were safe there. A person’s home was a sanctuary.

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