Trio steal R1 mln in jewels

2011-11-03 00:00

“THERE were so many gold items that I even thought I was hallucinating,” a 17-year-old youth said in a statement yesterday when he pleaded guilty to breaking into a flat and stealing R1 million worth of gold jewellery.

The youth, who cannot be named because he is still a juvenile, pleaded guilty before regional Magistrate Paul Ableman to a charge of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft of the jewellery which was taken from the flat of Viji Padayachee in Church Street on September 19.

The youth said he and his two co-perpetrators (whom he identified as Addil Ali and Gaven Chetty, both 22 years old) sold the jewellery to a Nigerian man who paid them R9 000 “on the spot” and R48 000 two days later. The trio had divided the cash amongst themselves.

However, the youth confessed to his mother what he had done a month later and she took him to the police station. The teenager and his accomplices had set out only to steal a flat-screen television, but after gaining entry to the flat realised that the TV was too big.

“Since we could not steal the TV, Gaven went to the bedroom and forced open the wardrobe. Inside the wardrobe there were boxes filled with gold chains. There were so many gold items that I even thought I was hallucinating,” he said.

“Gaven and I took the gold items and loaded them into a packet and left the flat. We showed Addil what we found and he was very happy. We then got onto Addil’s car and proceeded to town where we sold the items to a certain Nigerian man.”

In his statement, prepared and read to court by his legal aid attorney, S. Ngobeni, the youth said he, Chetty and Ali were at a hotel drinking alcohol and consuming “Rosh” tablets (a drug) at about 10 am on the day in question when Ali mentioned that his mother’s friend was staying at a nearby flat and suggested they break into the flat and steal her flat-screen television.

They all agreed and Ali went to his car and came back with a screwdriver. The three of them thereafter proceeded to the flat.

The youth said Ali remained on the second floor as a “look-out” while he and Chetty went to the third floor. They had gained entry after Chetty forced open a window.

The youth, who was supported in court by family members, said he was truly remorseful for his actions and begged the court’s mercy when imposing sentence on him.

The case was postponed to November 18 at the request of state prosecutor, Pranisha Kasool, who said it was necessary to obtain reports from correctional and probation officers prior to sentencing because of the accused’s age.

Ableman released the youth into his mother’s custody pending sentencing after confirming that the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Calvin Adimulam, had no objection.

• The Witness established that Addil Ali also appeared briefly before a different magistrate in connection with the case yesterday and the matter was postponed to November 9.

Chetty has not been arrested.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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