Cy­clone thefts will make Prossie court

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS COURT -

FOUR men charged with steal­ing sev­eral elec­tron­ics items dur­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie re­pairs had their first men­tion in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trates Court on Mon­day.

They may have got­ten away with it too, if it wasn’t for one tech savvy per­son who used a phone app to track down one of the stolen items.

The four men from Bris­bane, who work for a Bris­bane-based con­struc­tion com­pany, did not ap­pear in court on Mon­day but en­tered pleas of guilty to the charges in writ­ing.

Nak Ch­hoeun, Sovong Rin, Roeuth Ouch and Dar­avit Son were work­ing at Proser­pine State School to re­move as­bestos in the af­ter­math of the cy­clone.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Bern­hard Berger said they were at the school from April 11-14 dur­ing which time an iPad was stolen.

The owner of the iPad used the find my iPhone app and tracked it to Coral Sea Re­sort at Air­lie Beach.

The fa­ther of the owner of the iPad then drove to the re­sort, dis­cov­er­ing the room in ques­tion was hired out to a con­struc­tion com­pany.

Af­ter con­tact­ing po­lice, a search on the room in ques­tion was con­ducted but no one was there. The con­struc­tion com­pany was also con­tacted and agreed some­one work­ing for them must have taken it.

Po­lice even­tu­ally found the iPad on Rin’s bed. He was stay­ing in an ad­ja­cent room and he ad­mit­ted to taking it from the school.

Son and Ch­hoeun also ad­mit­ted to taking iPads and Ouch was found to have other stolen elec­tron­ics in his bag.

A fur­ther two search war­rants were ex­e­cuted on two more bed­rooms at the re­sort where a num­ber of elec­tron­ics items were found, in­clud­ing 10 pairs of head­phones, three dig­i­tal cam­eras, a hard drive, charg­ers, a lap­top, as­sorted com­puter ca­bles, a printer, an HDMI adapter, a pair of speak­ers, a USB stick and a stop watch, as well as sta­tionery in­clud­ing pen­cils and rub­bers.

Mr Berger said none of the four men were be­lieved to speak flu­ent English.

Mag­is­trate Si­mon Young de­nied their re­quests to have the mat­ters trans­ferred to Been­leigh Mag­is­trates Court af­ter let­ters were sent for them from the of­fice of Cameron Dick, MP.

“It is not in the in­ter­est of jus­tice and not in the pub­lic in­ter­est, that mat­ters such as these, that in­volve theft and op­por­tunis­tic theft by work­men at a lo­cal school that came up here to as­sist with cy­clone re­cov­ery, be deter­mined in a ju­ris­dic­tion out­side the lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tion,” Mr Young said.

“There is a great deal of com­mu­nity in­ter­est un­der­stand­ably in these types of pro­ceed­ings.

“(It’s) cy­clone-re­lated loot­ing. Pe­ri­ods of im­pris­on­ment and ac­tual im­pris­on­ment are not out of the ques­tion.”

The four men are fac­ing charges of en­ter­ing premises and com­mit­ting an in­dictable of­fence.

“The con­text is very se­ri­ous, the charges them­selves carry a max­i­mum of 14 years in prison,” Mr Young said.

The mat­ters have been ad­journed for sen­tenc­ing on June 12.

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