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‘I am tired of a life of crime’

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A 17-year-old boy, who has become accustomed to a life of crime since a young age, is intent on turning his life around and completing his schooling.

A 17-year-old boy bears scars on his back after being assaulted when he was caught stealing. Picture: Soraya Crowie

A 17-YEAR-old boy, who has become accustomed to a life of crime since a young age, is intent on turning his life around and completing his schooling.

He indicated that he dropped out of school when his school uniform was taken away from him in Grade 9.

“I have been forced to steal and sell stolen goods since 2020. I don’t want to be a thief anymore and I am tired of being assaulted by community crime fighters and the police . . . if I happen to be caught. I steal cellphones, cash and clothes and resell them. I share the money with my aunt who picks the houses in the neighbourhood that I am expected to target.”

He stated that he was chased away from home when he refused to break into people’s homes. His aunt depended on the money obtained from the sale of stolen goods.

“I usually break into people’s homes during the day when the homeowners are at work. It is easy to break open the doors and burglar bars.

“The one time I stole taps valued at R12 000 and sold them for R78 to a local scrap dealer.”

He said that he wanted to return to school this year and earn an honest living once he had finished Grade 12.

The father of a 17-year-old boy is assisting his son to turn away from a life of crime. Picture: Soraya Crowie

His father indicated that at first he refused to believe the allegations against his son.

“I was shocked when I discovered that my son was hiding stolen cellphones and R20 000 cash around the house. He used to stay with his grandmother until she passed away and he was made to sleep on the street or in the toilet if he refused to steal for his aunt. I am in the process of returning all the stolen goods to their rightful owners.”

He added that he called a community meeting where his son confessed and apologised for his deeds.

“I believe his aunt has a life insurance policy on my son’s life. I am worried about what might happen to him if he is stabbed or killed while he is committing these crimes. He has scars from the lashes and wounds that were inflicted when he was caught stealing. I will make sure that he now stops stealing and goes back to school.”

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