Trio's heists netted Sustagen, perfume - then jail

It was a serious criminal operation with a simple plan and a precise aim, basically executed and committed repeatedly.

Apart from a bogged truck and a blown tyre – and that some offenders got caught – it was hugely successful.

The thieves had diverse tastes and were cash-driven, undertook reconnaissance and wielded bolt cutters and a wrecking bar.

Given such tools, and that a 10-tonne truck was needed to cart some proceeds, they clearly weren't your everyday Coles shoplifters.

These filchers targeted shipping container or transport yards in metropolitan Melbourne's industrial areas where goods on a mass scale were stacked.

As the County Court heard, the plunder included 780 cartons of mens' French perfume worth $653,000, 464 cartons of BIC lighters ($258,000) and 1117 cartons of Sustagen ($100,000), the figures based on retail selling price.

Prosecutor Kieran Gilligan said also stolen over a five-month period from November 2008, was beer, chocolate waffle cones, sunflower oil, corn, nappies and hair straightener.

Mr Gilligan said the offenders cruised fencelines, cut their way into yards, broke into and stole from containers or returned with stolen trucks to load goods.

"Greed ... greed with a capital G," Judge Geoffrey Chettle described the motive of Omran Mohamed, 28, who pleaded guilty to 14 charges, including multiple thefts.

"There could have been milk shakes all over Melbourne," Judge Chettle quipped at the amount of Sustagen, but added: "This is just not going down to the local milk bar and pinching some boxes of chocolates."

Mohamed's brother Ali Mohamed, 30, pleaded guilty to four charges of criminal damage – cutting chains or holes in fences – to the Sustagen theft and to stealing a truck.

Ricardo Santos, 32, admitted multiple thefts and a criminal damage.

Mr Gilligan earlier told the County Court Omran Mohamed and unknown associates stole the perfume on November 8 2008, and a week later they took the lighters.

Mr Gilligan said the goods were on-sold, but most of the Sustagen was abandoned after a truck got bogged and $65,000 worth of plastering steel was left when another vehicle blew a tyre.

Patrick Tehan, QC, said Omran Mohamed, of Port Melbourne, had had an "awful, miserable life" and offended to pay drug debts.

Santos' barrister said his lifelong problem was drinking, now resolved, while Ali Mohamed's lawyer submitted his "stupid" first-time offending was an " aberration in an otherwise decent life".

In his sentencing remarks this morning, Judge Chettle took into account for all three men the significant delay between the offences and the resolution of the matter.

He told Omran Mohamed he had played a central role in crimes committed to make money without regard for people's property.

He was jailed for three years and six months with a minimum of two years.

Judge Chettle said Santos had long abused alcohol and drugs, which had ruined any chance of sustained employment.

The judge said his prospects of rehabilitation were "somewhat guarded" given his long criminal history.

He was jailed for two years and nine months with a minimum of one year and nine months.

Judge Chettle, who told Ali Mohamed, his offending was limited, sentenced him to nine months jail wholly suspended for two years.

This story Trio's heists netted Sustagen, perfume - then jail first appeared on The Age.