Teen jailed for thefts
A Warwick teenager has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for theft two days before his 18th birthday.
Meshach Crichton pleaded guilty to taking a motorcycle without consent, as well as stealing a laptop from one home and $11,132 of valuables from another in three separate incidents.
The first crime took place on December 30 last year, when a South Road resident reported that his Honda Scoopy 125cc had been stolen.
After police were informed that Crichton had been seen riding the cycle in Warwick that same day, they visited his place of work and found the vehicle parked on a nearby grass verge.
Although the defendant admitted he had ridden the bike to work, he said that he had found it after it had been hot-wired by someone else.
The second incident occurred on January 18, when a West Crescent resident discovered that her home had been ransacked while she was out and contacted police.
She reported that an Apple MacBook Pro, valued at $1,632, had been taken.
Officers later found the broken computer, identifiable by its serial number, at Crichton's home beneath his mattress.
He told police that he had found the rain-damaged computer outside, and had been drying it out before attempting to find its rightful owner.
The third incident took place on April 13, when Crichton broke into a Lusher Hill home while the residents were out.
A neighbour reported hearing a voice repeatedly shouting “good morning”, and became concerned after hearing a series of loud crashes.
When she went to investigate, she saw a young man in the home, kneeling by the television. When the suspect saw her, he pulled a stocking over his head then fled the area with a black and red backpack.
Another witness told police that they had seen the defendant shortly after the burglary throwing an object into bushes.
Crichton was arrested at his home later that day, wearing a shirt matching the description of that worn by the burglar, but he maintained that he had been at home the entire time.
Police later searched the aforementioned bushes and found a black and red backpack filled with items from the burgled home, valued at $11,132.
Statements from all three victims were read aloud this morning in Magistrates' Court.
The laptop owner detailed the “emotional stress” caused by Crichton, as well as a downturn in her business due to the loss of her laptop, while the Lusher Hill resident said that his wife was still living in fear and that Crichton should be made responsible for his actions. The cycle owner revealed that he had been without transport for three months due to his vehicle being tampered with.
A Social Inquiry Report said that Crichton's crimes were “fuelled in part” by his daily use of cannabis, which he started smoking aged 12, as well as the “unresolved issues” in his family life.
It also revealed that two of the offences were committed while he was on bail, and that he had admitted taking the drug “molly” (MDMA) before embarking on one offence.
“It appears that he hasn't taken full responsibility, but he does seem to acknowledge he has a problem,” the prosecution said of Crichton, adding that he had not been “completely forthright”.
Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo also criticised the defendant's refusal to own up to his behaviour, calling it “the thinking mentality of a criminal mind”, and pointed out that previous probation periods — in 2013 and 2014 — had not worked.
When asked to explain himself, Crichton said: “I've made bad choices. I'll abide by my probation officer's rules and be a good citizen in the community.”
Mr Tokunbo replied: “Violating people's privacy in their homes, that's pretty serious. I'm not sure you appreciate that. You make excuses for it. You need to be deterred.”
He sentenced Crichton to 15 months at the Co-Ed correctional facility for the two home burglaries and six months for the cycle theft, to run concurrently and taking into account time already served.
The defendant will be subject to two years' probation upon his release.