Guns stolen from Navy Cadets

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

TWO men have been re­manded in cus­tody fol­low­ing the theft of firearms and uni­forms from a stor­age con­tainer be­long­ing to the Whit­sun­day Navy Cadets.

Tiron Ardin Fer­gu­son, 39, and Ti­mothy Paul Jozef Lever, 35, were both brought to Mon­day’s sit­ting of the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court un­der po­lice guard.

Both men have been charged with en­ter­ing a premises and com­mit­ting an in­dictable of­fence and the un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of weapons.

Fer­gu­son is fac­ing fur­ther charges of pos­sess­ing and sup­ply­ing dan­ger­ous drugs.

The con­tainer was ini­tially bro­ken into some time be­tween Septem­ber 11-19, when Navy Cadet uni­forms were stolen.

Of­fi­cer in Charge of the Whit­sun­day Po­lice Sta­tion, Act­ing Se­nior Sergeant Brad Teys, said the con­tainer was re-se­cured but at 10.55pm on Septem­ber 23, po­lice re­ceived a call from se­cu­rity guards ad­vis­ing of a sec­ond break-in.

Act. Snr Sgt Teys said in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that on this oc­ca­sion a firearm safe, con­tain­ing six bolt-ac­tion ri­fles and mag­a­zines had been stolen.

Po­lice im­me­di­ately ac­cessed CCTV footage, which showed two peo­ple and a small hatch­back leav­ing the scene and head­ing to­wards Air­lie Beach. They then re­viewed footage from other CCTV cam­eras in the area and were con­se­quently able to dis­trib­ute images of a sus­pect seen get­ting out of the car.

On the af­ter­noon of Septem­ber 24, a mem­ber of the pub­lic re­ported see­ing the car on Shute Har­bour Road, Can­non­vale, near Cen­tro. Act. Snr Sgt Teys said as a re­sult of this, po­lice were able to in­ter­cept the car and de­tain both sus­pects. He said seven bags, each con­tain­ing 0.1g of methyl am­phet­a­mine were also found in the car.

After ex­e­cut­ing sev­eral search war­rants, po­lice were able to re­cover all of the stolen items with the ex­cep­tion of one .22 cal­i­bre ri­fle, which Act. Snr Sgt Teys said he was con­fi­dent would now also be found.

In court on Mon­day, Fer­gu­son made an ap­pli­ca­tion for bail but this was ob­jected to by po­lice pros­e­cu­tor El­iz­a­beth Smith, who said that on the weapons act of­fences, manda­tory pe­ri­ods of im­pris­on­ment may ap­ply.

Mag­is­trate Haydn St­jern­qvist said it was also par­tic­u­larly disturbing that the weapons were stolen “all in the at­mos­phere of drugs”.

Bail was for­mally re­fused, with both men to re­main be­hind bars un­til their next court ap­pear­ances on Oc­to­ber 20. Fer­gu­son en­tered a plea of guilty to the charge of sup­ply­ing drugs, which was com­mit­ted to the Mackay Dis­trict Court for sen­tence at a date to be ad­vised by the Depart­ment of Po­lice Pros­e­cu­tion (DPP).

Mean­while, Act Snr Sgt Teys said the in­ci­dent had raised some is­sues which were now be­ing ad­dressed by po­lice and the Aus­tralian De­fence Force. He said he would support and as­sist the Whit­sun­day Navy Cadets with en­deav­ours to find a se­cure com­pound that would al­low them to per­form their ex­er­cises and train­ing “and con­tinue with this im­por­tant project”.

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