17 years old, Zinedine Zibusiso Siziba, a Form Three boy from Victoria Falls has reportedly broken into premises and committed theft 67 times, making him one of the most feared housebreaking criminals in the resort town.
The boy only turned 17 this month and committed the crimes over the past two years.
He has been arrested on several occasions and released because of his age.
A Victoria Falls court last year found him guilty of 13 counts of unlawful entry and theft but postponed sentencing because of his age. The teenager has been targeting mostly electrical gadgets, cellphone handsets, food and cash.
Now he is facing 18 counts of a similar nature which he allegedly committed last year when he stole property valued at ZW$41 853.
Trial opened before Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa on Friday and the boy was remanded to today before plea as his mother, Ms Catherine Siziba, indicated that she wants to get him a lawyer.
Thirty-six more counts of a similar nature await him and have been set down for this week.
Emthunzini residents wait for police to attend the crime scene
Under normal circumstances, based on ethical and legal grounds, the juvenile would not be named as he is younger than 18. However, based on a report from the probation officer only identified as F Makoni, who recommended that Zinedine Zibusiso Siziba be treated as an adult for purposes of sentencing as he has failed to reform.
Zinedine stays with his unemployed mother and siblings while his father who is a nurse, moved to Plumtree after the couple separated.
According to the probation officer, Zinedine’s mother single handedly takes care of the children after being abandoned by their father.
The probation officer said while Zinedine who learns at a local private college lacks the support of a father, his mother has been managing to provide and pay school fees for him.
“The offences of unlawful entry and theft committed by Zinedine are serious as they involve breaking into premises. He is a repeat offender taking advantage of his age to commit the offences. His mother says there are no problems at home which warrant him to steal from other people.
“His commission of the offences was mainly an effect of him forming a habit of stealing and he may also be part of a gang which is into stealing,” said the probation officer.
Zinedine committed some of the previous cases with adult accomplices.
“The first time, the justice system through a pre-trial conference gave him a second chance so that he doesn’t have a criminal record but he has failed to appreciate that and went on to re-offend. He has to be given a deterrent sentence.
It is respectfully recommended that Zinedine Zibusiso Siziba be treated as an adult for the purpose of sentencing in terms of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act,” read a probation officer’s report.