Age saves teen from jail time

A TEENAGER says he committed an aggravated burglary and broke into numerous cars because he was “sick of being broke all the time”.

Tevita Shayler-Nikua yesterday pleaded guilty to the charges and was placed on a community corrections order, with Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge telling him the only thing saving him from jail was his age and the fact the aggravated burglary was not committed at a residential address.

Mildura Magistrates’ Court heard the 18-year-old and a co-accused were walking from the Mildura CBD about 2.40am on December 12 last year when they broke into a vehicle and stole a logbook.

They then walked along Eleventh Street and were captured on CCTV rummaging around the rear of Mildura International Backpackers before entering the building, where a number of backpackers were sleeping.

They did not steal from the backpackers but rummaged through a number of parked cars. 

After breaking into a car, the pair made off with a French passport, credit card, ID card, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a laptop.

The pair were identified from the CCTV images and arrested on December 19 following searches in which the clothing Shayler-Nikua was wearing at the time of the offending was found.

The logbook was also recovered, however the passport and cards were still missing.

In a police interview, Shayler-Nikua said he “just wanted some money – I’m sick of being broke all the time”.

Mr Lethbridge said while the thefts may not have meant much to Shayler-Nikua, the logbook theft would have caused a major inconvenience to the victim and the repercussions for the victim of the passport theft may have been “catastrophic”.

“How do you know they weren’t going to fly back to France the following day to attend a family member’s funeral?” he said.

“What are you going to do with a French passport?”

Shayler-Nikua was convicted, placed on an 18-month community corrections order to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay $155 compensation for the sunglasses.

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