Six arrested for large-scale copper cable theft

Police have arrested six people, including a 43-year-old and 31-year-old, both of Bundoora, a 39-year-old Eltham, a 58-year-old Cottles Bridge man, a 34-year-old Glenroy man and a 31-year-old Reservoir man who were allegedly involved in an organised crime syndicate responsible for over 50 large-scale copper thefts.

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Police have arrested six people, including a 43-year-old and 31-year-old, both of Bundoora, a 39-year-old Eltham, a 58-year-old Cottles Bridge man, a 34-year-old Glenroy man and a 31-year-old Reservoir man who were allegedly involved in an organised crime syndicate responsible for over 50 large-scale copper thefts.

The alleged thefts are estimated to have cost in excess of $780,000 across Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Detectives from the North West Metro Regional Crime Squad have been investigating at least 50 of the alleged incidents of copper thefts in Melbourne’s northern suburbs between January and June this year.

“Some may think that this is a victimless crime – but the impact of large-scale copper theft is serious.

“The theft of copper causes significant damage to critical infrastructure, impacting telecommunication networks, public transport signalling and power supply,” Detective Inspector Patrick Watkinson said.

Police seized an estimated $95,000 worth of copper as part of a series of warrants executed late last week.

It’s alleged that the offenders used portable power tools to cut through cabling at telecommunications pits to steal large quantities of copper.

The thefts are reported to have caused significant damage to infrastructure as well as causing undue distress to the community through disruptions to internet and power services.

“Not only does it significantly damage critical infrastructure, it also causes undue distress and disruption to the community through the loss of internet and power services, or disruptions to transport networks,” Detective Inspector Patrick Watkinson said.

Detectives from the North West Metro Regional Crime Squad along with members from the Mill Park Divisional Response Unit conducted a series of search warrants on Thursday and Friday in Bundalong, Bundoora, Cottles Bridge, Reservoir and Eltham.

The six people arrested include:

• A 43-year-old Bundoora man was charged with the theft of $215,000 worth of copper cabling and criminal damage to the value of $30,000 to telecommunication footpath pits. He has been bailed to appear at the Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court on September 21;

• A 31-year-old Bundoora woman was charged with theft. She has been bailed to appear at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court on November 22;

• A 39-year-old Eltham man charged with possession of methyl amphetamine and is expected to be charged on summons in relation to the theft of copper. He has been bailed to appear at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court on November 22;

• A 58-year-old Cottles Bridge man was charged with handling stolen goods. He has been bailed to appear at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court on 23 November.

• A 34-year-old Glenroy man and a 31-year-old Reservoir man were also arrested and released pending further enquiries.

“We are confident that the arrests made by the North West Metro Regional Crime Squad will make an impact into this type of offending across metropolitan Melbourne.

“Our message to anyone thinking of stealing copper to make a quick dollar is simply don’t; we have a number of methods allowing us to disrupt this offending as well as enabling us to identify and track down those involved,” Detective Inspector Patrick Watkinson said.


Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

SOURCEVictoria Police
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