A 14-year-old boy who racked up a half a million dollar crime spree across Ballarat has been released from custody after receiving a stern talking to from a magistrate.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was told his ice-fuelled crime spree “exhibited truly shocking offending”.
“I counted in excess of half a million dollars (of thefts and other offending) which you destroyed for your own personal exhilaration,” the magistrate told the boy during his sentencing hearing on Monday.
“It’s difficult for me to describe how serious this offending is.”
A children’s court previously heard the boy was involved in numerous car thefts, burglaries and a car chase around the Ballarat region, some of which occurred while he was on Supreme Court bail.
On one occasion while on bail the boy was filmed driving at high speeds while trying to take a selfie as his passenger smoked ice.
The magistrate told the boy he would be facing a long time behind bars if he was an adult, but because he was still a child he would instead be receiving the most significant time on a youth supervision order.
“For you it’s the end of the road,” he said.
“If it doesn’t stop now you’re looking down the barrel of becoming a useless and wasteful person who will spend your life in and out of jail.”
The boy, who has spent 123 days on remand, was sentenced to a 12-month youth supervision order and was warned he would face more time in custody if he reoffended.
The boy originally pleaded guilty to 21 charges in October which ranged in seriousness from theft of number plates, to theft of motor vehicles and criminal damage by fire over an 18-day period.
On one occasion the boy was caught flipping the bird to a service station attendant as he drove off without paying for petrol in a stolen car.
It was one of three cars totaling $80,000 stolen from a Mount Clear house on August 31 while the victims slept.
He later watched a co-accused torch the car in Nerrina.
On another occasion the accused attempted to steal a car at Pizza Hut in Golden Point during the middle of the day, but was grabbed at the last minute by the car’s owner.
Earlier that morning he caused $21,000 in damages at a Gillies Street car dealership, after smashing the windows of numerous vehicles while looking for keys.
The boy told police he smoked ice that morning and had not slept for two weeks.
But the boy then faced a series of fresh charges which were racked up after he was released on Supreme Court bail in November.
Some of the new offending included numerous car thefts and a police chase where the boy intentionally drove at police and was clocked driving at 100km/h in a built-up area in Golden Point.
On another occasion the boy and a co-accused used a cat flap to break into a house and stole a car.
The court also heard a number of videos and photos found on the boy’s phone implicated him driving, something he is too young to do.
The boy’s lawyer said the 14-year-old was negatively influenced by his peers, but when supported he responded well.
“There are windows of opportunity away from the bad influences,” the lawyer said.
The lawyer added the time in custody was a significant period for such a young person.
The boy will be supervised as part of the order which will work through the things that have caused the boy to get into trouble.