MIDLAND Detectives have charged eight people after seizing more than $150,000 worth of items from five properties in Henley Brook, Caversham, West Swan, Swan View and Bullsbrook over the past week.
The haul included a $65,000 Caterpillar bobcat, an all-terrain vehicle valued at $35,000, an Isuzu truck and a crane worth $20,000 each, a generator, drone and three laptops.
Detective Sgt Gary Butler said not all of the property – which was stolen from commercial premises in Canning Vale, Midvale, Hazelmere and Kewdale between February and April – had been reported by its owner.
“We identified the bobcat was stolen,” he said.
“So we had to find the owner, ring them and ask them if they had lost a $65,000 bobcat, to which the answer was ‘yes’.
“It would make our job easier-going to search warrants if stolen goods were reported straight away, as we would be able to seize goods there and then.”
Sgt Butler said it appeared the offenders had been working as a team.
“They stole a crane, put it on the back of a utility, then used that to steal more property,” he said. “We allege there is one main offender, who gained the assistance of others.
“The actual offenders who stole the property were quite small; they were just using their criminal networks to on-sell or dispose of the property.”
Sgt Butler said detectives had been working on the case – known as Operation Jetstar – for more than six weeks.
“We have established who the majority of the offenders are and are happy we have apprehended these people,” he said.
“But there’s certainly a lot of property that has been stolen that we haven’t recovered yet, and we are continually working towards that.”
Four men will appear in the Midland Magistrates Court on more than 30 charges including stealing, burglary, possessing prohibited weapon, receiving and unlawful possession, possess cannabis and possess drug paraphernalia.
The other four will be summonsed at a later date.