Saturday, September 12, 2009

Even back then, they blamed it on the flicks

While looking for one thing in the newspaper reels at the library this afternoon, I found another -- a case of juvenile burglary in Avondale (from NZ Herald, 20 August 1917):
Two boys, aged 10 and 12 years, were charged with burglary at Avondale. It was stated that the elder boy had entered a shop at Avondale early one evening, and taken £1 3s 6d from the till.After coming out he met the younger lad, and persuaded him to accompany him to force an entry into another shop. After trying several windows, they found one that was unlatched. Again the till was raided, and £1 19s stolen. The elder boy also made an unsuccessful attempt to open the safe. The following day he left home, and obtained work in Auckland under an assumed name, with the result that several days elapsed before he was traced.

The probation officer reported that the elder boy had undoubtedly been the moving spirit in the enterprise, and had got beyond parental control. He had been in the habit of slipping out at night and, contrary to the instructions of his parents, going to the pictures. His conduct was possibly due to the influence of undesirable and suggestive pictures.

When questioned by Mr. Fraser [the magistrate], the boy said he had previously committed theft. In committing him to the Boys' Training Farm at Nelson, Mr. Fraser stated that, should his conduct be satisfactory, there would be no objection to his returning home in six or seven months' time. The younger boy, whose conduct was reported to be generally good, was admonished and discharged.

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