Nine-year-old boy caught stealing stationery from shop for first day of school
An eraser, calculator, glue, pen, pencil case, ruler, and scissors are among the essential items in any pupil's backpack at the beginning of a new school year.
But on Tuesday, a nine-year-old boy was caught trying to steal a shopping basket filled with such items from a supermarket in Verulam, north of Durban. His brother, 14, had been keeping watch as he picked the items off the shelves.
Little did the two, from Redcliffe, Verulam, know that a Reaction Unit SA (Rusa) member was watching them.
"When confronted by security, the boy admitted that his older brother forced him to steal the items," Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram said.
When the boys were searched, more stationery from another supermarket in the area was found in their possession, Balram said.
The brothers admitted to the theft, saying they wanted to get stationery ahead of schools reopening on Wednesday.
Balram did not know if the boys' parents had not bought them stationery, if the brothers had spent their stationery money on other things, or if they were going to sell it to other pupils.
The pair's older brother was no stranger to Balram and Verulam police.
Rusa had arrested their 18-year-old brother about 40 times in the past for theft and housebreaking. He was recently released from Westville Prison after serving a sentence for theft.
Balram said it was disappointing that the 18-year-old had taught his youngest brother to steal.
The store's management was sympathetic and decided not to take any legal action, Balram said. All the stolen items were returned to the two shops.
Balram said the boys’ parents had given up on trying to talk their sons out of committing crime.