A BALLARAT teenager used a sledgehammer to crack a man’s safe and steal his dead wife’s engagement ring, a court has heard.
A Children’s Court yesterday heard that the teen also took $7000 from the safe, along with other jewellery, in August last year.
He pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including burglary, theft and arson, and was sentenced to 18 months in a youth justice facility.
The court heard that the teen was also responsible for the theft of tools and arson of a van, in relation to a burglary at a Ballarat business last month.
A police prosecutor said the 18-year-old and several co-offenders broke into a Wendouree home last August where they targeted a safe bolted to the property’s floor.
The prosecutor said the group knew the safe was there because of a previous burglary at the address.
After removing the safe, the teenager and co-offenders stole laptops, digital cameras and other electrical items of value.
The court heard a sledgehammer was used to force the safe door, and $7000 cash and the victim’s deceased wife’s engagement ring were stolen.
It was also revealed that the teen was involved in a burglary at a Wendouree business in 2011 and a York Street home in April this year.
The prosecutor also told the court about a $20,000 burglary and arson last month, where the teenager and two co-offenders broke into a Delacombe business, loaded one of the business’s vans with stolen tools, then torched the van in Brown Hill.
The court heard the teen drove the van to a Scott Parade address where some tools were unloaded, before driving to a secluded location, where accelerant was used to incinerate the vehicle.
The man’s defence lawyer tried to reason her client’s offending was brought about by mixing with older people, drawing a retort from the magistrate.
“Where’s the pragmatism and reality about this? This guy is a crook and he’s going to spend time behind bars,” he said.
“He can spend a lot of time with older people if that’s what he wants.
“Your opportunity for youth detention has been used up today,” the magistrate told the teen.
“You’re now an adult, you’ve got to take charge of your life.”