Three Sydney Contractors Arrested in $3.5 Million Copper Theft Scheme

NSW Police arrested three Sydney contractors for allegedly stealing and selling over 300 tonnes of copper wiring worth up to $3.5 million. The men, aged 32, 43, and 48, were charged with larceny and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.

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Nitish Verma
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Three Sydney Contractors Arrested in $3.5 Million Copper Theft Scheme

Three Sydney Contractors Arrested in $3.5 Million Copper Theft Scheme

In a major bust, the New South Wales Police Financial Crime Squad has arrested three Sydney contractors, aged 32, 43, and 48, for their alleged involvement in the theft and sale of over 300 tonnes of copper wiring worth up to $3.5 million. The stolen copper cabling was taken from multiple sites across south-west Sydney and sold to metal merchants, disguised as a legitimate business operation.

Why this matters: The theft of copper wiring is a persistent issue in Australia, with significant economic and safety implications. The authorities' commitment to cracking down on such crimes is crucial to preventing further losses and ensuring public safety.

The scheme, which earned the men over $1 million, was uncovered in February 2024, leading to a series of investigations and arrests. In March, officers from the Financial Crime Squad's Motor Unit seized over $200,000 of unlawfully obtained copper at a scrapyard in Ingleburn, Sydney, resulting in the arrest of two of the men. A subsequent search warrant executed on Hepher Road in Campbelltown recovered an additional $105,000 worth of cabling, leading to the arrest of the same two individuals.

The suspects were taken into custody at Campbelltown Police Station but were released shortly after. Further investigations led to the arrest of the third man, 32, last Thursday, who was charged with three counts of larceny and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime. The 32-year-old has been denied bail.

Detective Superintendent Gordon Arbinja emphasized the severity of the crime, stating, "Stealing copper isn't just hazardous, it's also unlawful." He also warned that anyone involved in such activities would face consequences, including the scrap metal merchants who facilitated the sale of the stolen goods. "It's inevitable anyone responsible will be caught and put before the courts – and that includes the scrap metal merchants," Arbinja added.

The theft of copper wiring has been a persistent issue in Australia, with the valuable metal being a prime target for criminals due to its high resale value. The stolen copper is often sold to scrap metal dealers who may knowingly or unknowingly purchase the illicit goods. This recent bust serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against copper theft and the authorities' commitment to cracking down on such crimes.

Key Takeaways

  • 3 Sydney contractors arrested for stealing 300+ tonnes of copper wiring worth $3.5 million.
  • The stolen copper was sold to metal merchants, disguised as a legitimate business operation.
  • The scheme earned the men over $1 million before being uncovered in February 2024.
  • One suspect has been denied bail, charged with 3 counts of larceny and dealing with proceeds of crime.
  • Authorities warn scrap metal merchants who facilitate the sale of stolen goods will face consequences.