A 13-year-old boy racked up almost $450,000 in offences across Ballarat over just 18 days, a court has heard.
During the short-lived crime spree the teenager, who The Courier cannot name for legal reasons, had not slept for two weeks.
He was also using ice.
He pleaded guilty in a children’s court on Monday to 21 charges, including criminal damage by fire and multiple counts of theft of a motor vehicle and number plate theft.
The court heard the boy was involved in a number of thefts and attempted thefts across the Ballarat region between August 28 and September 14.
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 near 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 seven vehicles while looking for keys.
The boy told police he smoked ice that morning and had not slept for two weeks.
He was also involved in another petrol drive off in Ballan, the theft of three more vehicles and was also charged with stealing number plates which he told police he simply unscrewed from cars.
At age 13, the accused is too young to have obtained a licence.
Explaining his offending, he told police he had friends beg him for the number plates and it was his ‘mates’ who originally stole the cars from the Mount Clear property.
His lawyer told the court there were a number of factors, including his client’s lack of attendance at school and death of a family member, which contributed to his behaviour.
He added there were long-standing drug issues and grief issues that needed to be dealt with.
The lawyer urged the magistrate to consider placing his client on a youth supervision order, despite the current offending breaching both a probation order and youth supervision order.
He argued detention had “at best no effect on the offender”, and his client’s issues would instead be best dealt with by appropriate services in a community environment.
But a children’s court magistrate questioned whether placing the boy on another youth supervision order was appropriate at this stage.
“I’m being asked to place him on an order that failed to stop him re-offending on prior occasions,” he said.
Instead, the magistrate adjourned sentencing for three weeks while a detailed pre-sentence report is completed.
The boy did not make an application for bail, telling the court he felt he needed more time in custody to get off drugs.
The boy, who has already spent 26 days in custody, will reappear in a court later this month.
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