Million dollar theft prompts hefty reward

Million dollar theft prompts hefty reward

$50,000 in reward money is being offered for information regarding the March 17 theft of nearly $1 million worth of computer components from an Electronic Resources warehouse.

To be eligible for the reward, resellers must provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the offenders responsible and to the recovery of the stolen products. Apart from the arrest and conviction of offenders, reward will be paid proportional to the value of stock recovered.

Quantum Fireball drives, Intel Pentium CPUs and Intel motherboards were taken in the raid believed to be carried out by at least four members of a known criminal gang.

It is alleged the offenders walked into the factory complex at Rhodes in Sydney, crawled between two buildings, and cut a wire fence, landing them in a carpark behind the Electronic Resources building.

In a back corner out of sight behind another building, they proceeded to cut a hole in the double-brick wall of the Electronic Resources warehouse, enter the building, and trigger an alarm. Security guards made an external view of the premises but did not find any penetration of the building.

The offenders stacked the boxes in the car park and when they were ready, radioed a one-tonne van which had been waiting outside the factory complex. As the van drove in, it cut the corner of an adjacent building and set off an alarm, panicking the offenders to quickly load the van and take off at high speed, leaving some of the boxes and all of their tools behind.

Private investigators Peter A Cox & Associates were hired by reinsurers of the Electronic Resources warehouse, to track down the path of the stolen goods.

Cheaper than chips

The investigators believe the goods were transferred interstate shortly after the raid and most are thought to have reached end users in Melbourne through the channel.

"We're trying to get the dealer market to look for the products listed at a very cheap and unrealistic price," said Roger Pearce of Peter A Cox & Associates.

According to Pearce there are a number of leads regarding Intel 133MHz chips being sold in Melbourne for $20 less than their landed cost.

"A number of Victorian-based dealers are openly promoting them on printed price lists; they must be aware these could be stolen chips and are doing nothing about it," he said.

According to Pearce the stolen goods are "like cash. "Because they are such a hot item at the moment, if a reseller can pick up a $20 or $50 price advantage on a system, they'll do it.

"They would argue that they've picked them up off a legitimate wholesaler - it's the seemingly 'legitimate' wholesaler that might have got them through the back door trying to make a quick profit."

Public response to an advertisement about the $50,000 reward has been great, Pearce said, although many of the calls were from people who believe they have been ripped off - but cases unrelated to the Electronic Resources one. "A lot of that has been handed over to the police - there's a couple of really worthwhile leads where people have clearly been selling hot equipment," Pearce said.

Stolen products:

Quantum Fireball 1.2Gb SCSI product No. HQ031Quantum Fireball 3.8Gb At Hdd product No. HQ037Intel Pentium 133 in Box, product No. C1114Intel Pentium 150 in Box, product No. C1115Intel Pentium 166 in Box, product No. C1116Intel Pentium 200 in Box, product No. C1118Intel P5-90 M/board 256K (Zappa), product No. MI001Peter A Cox & AssociatesTel (02) 9997 2433 Fax (02) 9997 5155

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