Minors Break Into Aircraft to Steal Headphones

AN attempt by three minors to steal a set of headphones from a chartered plane at Sesfontein is expected to cost Namibia Desert Air company over N$1 million in damages.

The boys (names withheld), two of them aged nine and one 12-year-old, broke into the plane on Wednesday morning and helped themselves to headphones, a portable GPS, personal documents and a few passports that were inside the aircraft.

Desert Air managing director Thys Rall told The Namibian yesterday that he suspects the juveniles broke into the twin-engine Aero Commander 690 aircraft by throwing rocks at the plane’s windshield that has been left shattered. Seven of the side-windows have also been damaged, so is the door.

Rall said the plane was chartered by Gamal Rifai Architects to perform construction work for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in Sesfontein.

“We landed at Sesfontein just before half-past eight on Wednesday morning. The passengers were picked up by the contractor upon arrival, while the two pilots secured and locked the aircraft before retiring to a day-room that we rented out for them,” he said. Rall said upon their return four hours later, the pilots discovered that the aircraft had been vandalised and broken into.

“They immediately alerted the police who arrived 10 minutes later and followed the tracks into a nearby river where they recovered some of the documents,” he said. Rall said the police found the boys after a two-hour search and brought them back to the crime-scene in the company of their parents. “After being questioned by the officers, the boys admitted breaking into the aircraft through a translator,” said a clearly annoyed Rall. Rall said the boys’ parents could only offer an apology on behalf of their sons.

“An apology is nothing compared to the N$1 million damage that the company now has to incur,” said Rall. He said police released the boys into the care of their parents with no disciplinary action taken against them since they are just children. An extra aircraft that had to be called from Windhoek to pick up the stranded passengers and pilots at Sesfontein cost N$43 000.

It is now up to the company to bear the costs, including the import of a new windscreen and side-windows from the United States. An invoice produced by Rall reveals that the windshield of the plane alone will cost the company U$43 502, not including the seven dented windows and door. “The total cost will probably be around N$1 million,” he said.

Rall expressed disappointment in today’s wayward youth, blaming their behaviour on a lack of discipline. “The culture of indiscipline in this country has taken its toll and will have a definite impact on Namibia as a whole. Nobody has taught these youngsters the value of things and crime is only escalating and will leave the country in a sorry state,” he said.

Rall however praised the police for their quick response and for recovering all the stolen goods, with the exception of one of the pilot’s passports.

Constable Uerijarura Mbomboro from the Sesfontein police station confirmed the incident.

Source : The Namibian