Thieves foiled with heavyweight haul

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THE discovery of 100kg of copper wiring in a stolen car in Hastings is allegedly part of a 20 tonne haul, valued at $250,000, looted from a Tullamarine industrial estate.

The find has led to a Tyabb man, 38, being charged with theft, and other men facing possible charges, in an ongoing investigation. He has been bailed to appear at Frankston Magistrates’ Court in July.

Detective Senior Constable Nick Sweetman, of Hastings CIU, said Carrum Downs highway patrol members using number plate recognition technology detected the unreturned Nissan hire car on Graydens Rd on 19 March.

They queried the driver about the cargo and, suspicious, called in Hastings CIU.

Detectives “after making inquiries through various sources” raided a Moorabbin factory where they found four tonnes of the metal believed to be what is left of the 20 tonnes originally stolen.

Two trailers and a stolen car were also found at the factory.

Detective Senior Constable Sweetman said the copper had been taken to Moorabbin for stripping and processing before being on-sold to scrap metal dealers, including possibly at Hastings and Dandenong.

“A substantial amount had already been on-sold,” he said.

The copper was to be used in a $350 million development near the airport and was stored in a fenced-off compound.

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