Half-million dollar haul

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Steven with some of the firearms discovered by police. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d426780
Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Steven with some of the firearms discovered by police. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d426780

Eight men and a woman were charged with 33 offences following the raids, dubbed Operation Hotrod, to bust an alleged burglary syndicate operating out of four properties in Upper Swan, Herne Hill, Toodyay and Swan View.

Conservative estimates of the haul of allegedly stolen goods recovered was in excess of $500,000, including a classic $100,000 XY GT Falcon sedan and a hydraulic car hoist worth about $120,000.

The raids also yielded recently stolen firearms, including a sawn-off shotgun and a loaded pump-action shotgun.

Police also uncovered other stolen cars, parts, industrial machinery, drugs and other miscellaneous items.

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Stephen said it did not appear the group had a leader or was affiliated with an organised crime gang.

‘We started looking at them because they were stealing and rebirthing cars that they were taking from industrial yards and semi-rural premises,’ he said.

‘Several houses were completely ransacked and they took everything.’

One Chittering home was completely gutted, with thieves spending hours taking what they wanted, even ripping a gun safe from a wall, taking cars, household appliances and tools.

‘A lot of the places (burgled) were semi-rural and quite isolated. They would knock on the door to see if anyone was there, so it was definitely more opportunistic than targeted,’ Sgt Stephen said.

‘In recent months some people have been reporting suspicious activity, especially in the semi-rural areas, because people know who comes and goes around there.’

Police have so far positively identified more than a dozen cars as stolen and recovered or returned six to their owners.

Some of the vehicles found in the raids had been stolen only a few hours earlier and had already had their doors ripped off.

‘They were moving stuff pretty quick,’ Sgt Stephen said.

Investigations continue into where the car parts were being sold.

Detective Constable Paul Lines said the large amount of car parts on the properties suggested stolen cars were being ‘stripped to bare bones’.

The alleged offenders will face burglary, stealing, stealing a motor car, possession of stolen or unlawfully obtained property, receiving, firearm and drug charges.

The first of those charged was scheduled to appear at Midland Magistrates Court yesterday. Others will appear on October 2, 10 and 12.