Mischievous boys break in and steal from shop

The Five boys who were before the magistrates of the Borough Police Court on Monday charged with stealing sweets of the value 10s, again appeared before the mayor (Cllr Chrime) and other magistrates on Wednesday, the charge having been amended.

The defendants were Leonard Enzer (13), 102 Moreland Road, William Smith (12), 23 Dean Road, and three brothers, George Eric Dodsworth (12), John Frederick Dodsworth (14), and Harold Leslie Dodsworth (7), and they were now charged with having stolen from Aspin's Confectionary stores, Marine Parade, a bicycle lamp, a Meerschaum pipe and cigarette holder and case, a cigarette machine, an India-rubber stamp, four sets of type, an ink pad, a leather purse, four silver coins, a Coronation medallion, a rule, a bicycle gear case and dress guard, a glass cutter, and a quantity of chocolates and other sweetmeats valued at 7, the property of Percy Teaari, between the 22nd and 25th of January.

Mr J Whitfield appeared for Enzer, who admitted taking the chocolates, and the other lads pleaded guilty to the charge.

The chief constable (Mr W Basham) said that Mr Teaari, who resided in Ramsey Street, left his shop secure at midday on Saturday, and at midnight on the 24th (Sunday), in consequence of a communication made to him by the police, he went to his premises and found that the cellar door immediately under the Central Tramway Company's entrance had been broken open, an entrance thus gained, and everything in the shop was in disorder.

The till had been tampered with, a bicycle hanging in the cellar had been taken down, the gear case cut off, and goods strewn about. Mr Teaari had taken stock and found that chocolates and goods to the value of 7 were missing. In addition about 5 worth of damage had been done.

Mr Teaari gave corroborative evidence. A mahogany bureau in the warehouse had been forced open, and the contents strewn about the floor. Biscuit tins had been opened, and the contents thrown about whilst tins of preserves had been similarly treated. The bicycle gear case had been torn off and the dress guard, while the lamp was missing.

Outside on the tramway steps he found a large hammer and chisel. About 7 worth of goods were missing, and 2 or 3 worth had been damaged whilst there was also 2 or 3 of damage done to the shop.

Detective Yeoman said that Smith told him that Eric Dodsworth got into the shop, the latter getting the big hammer and he assisting them. That was on the Saturday. They took some chocolates and biscuits, and threw some about. Enzer told him how they all went in on the Sunday afternoon. He got some chocolates and put them in his pockets. He got two boxes to last him for the week.

Witness afterwards accompanied him to the old recreation ground and found one box on the top shed near the cricket field and another underneath a large stone. All the Dodsworths admitted being in the shop, the elder one stating that he took the bicycle down and cut the gear case, and they all cut the strings – meaning the dress guard. When charged they all replied: "Yes, that's right." Afterwards Enzer said to Dodsworth: "It is a lie. I didn't break the till." He had received some chocolates from another boy, Enzer having given them to him.

Mr Whitfield for Enzer pointed out that he was a lad of some ability, having passed, although only 13 now, the 7th standard last summer. He was not the originator of the mischief, and that had to be considered. He was not in the shop till the Sunday. He was the son of respectable people, his father having been a sergeant major in the Army on the gymnastic training staff, and he was at present on the music hall stage, a brother of the defendant being with him. The father intended to take the defendant, who had been training as a juggler, with him, and although, unfortunately, the lad had been in some trouble before, he submitted that under his father's control he would be all right, and that it would be better than sending him to a reformatory.

The parents of the other boys spoke to their previous conduct, about which they had had nothing to complain.

The Chief constable asked that Enzer be sent to a reformatory as it was not his first offence.

The magistrates retired, and they subsequently intimated that Enzer would have to go to a reformatory for five years. They were influenced in this course by the proposal made by Mr Whitfield, which they didn't think was suitable for the lad. The other boys would be bound over for two years, under the probation officer, the parents being bound for each lad in the sum of 5.