Three men have been charged after allegedly stealing $270,000 of raw gold ore and a two-tonne safe from a mine in Western Australia.
One of the men has links to the Gypsy Joker bikies, WA Police said in a statement today.
Detectives from the Gold Stealing Detection Unit had been investigating the “stealing incident” in the Goldfields-Esperance region, in the state’s southeast, in April this year.
Police allege the men stole a front-end loader from the site to put a two-tonne safe onto a four-wheel-drive before using another 4WD to block an access road to the gold mine.
“All vehicles were stolen from the site,” police said.
“The safe was located after a member of the public reported suspicious activity and explosions in bushland between Kambalda and Kalgoorlie.
“Police attended the scene and located one stolen 4WD vehicle and the safe which was still intact.”
A 28-year-old man with links to the Gypsy Jokers has been charged with aggravated burglary and stealing, three counts of stealing a motor vehicle and criminal damage.
A 30-year-old man and 37-year-old man, not linked to the bikies, are facing the same charges, along with the unlicensed possession of ammunition and prohibited drugs (meth), possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawfully obtained property.
The men, all from Boulder in the Eastern Goldfields region, are due to appear before Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court on Thursday.
The Gold Stealing Detection Unit provides a “dedicated specialist investigation service to the gold industry” in WA including response and investigation “aimed at the detection, apprehension and prosecution of offenders involved in gold theft”, according to police.
“With frequent patrols, the GSDU also provides the only regular policing service to many isolated gold mining operations.”