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Geoffrey Paul Riley admitted in Tamworth Local Court to three counts of breaking into a building and stealing rail staff boxes after he was charged by police from the Tamworth Target Action Group (TAG).
According to police facts tendered in court, Riley is a NSW Trains driver and, as part of his employment, has possession of a standard lock master key to gain access to all rail staff huts in NSW.
The 42-year-old broke into the three rail staff huts in two hours between 9pm and 11pm on April 17 – the first in Premer.
“Once inside the hut the accused removed a blue staff box from the wall using a screw driver. The accused then left the hut in possession of the staff box, securing the staff hut as he left,” facts stated.
In Spring Ridge, Riley stole a red staff box from the wall and then locked the room again. That stolen box had a GPS tracker fixed to it.
Riley then travelled to The Gap at Werris Creek before he obtained the third box.
Police were alerted on April 22 after the GPS tracker emitted a signal from Riley’s property to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
When TAG officers went to the home and questioned Riley, he “denied having possession of a stolen staff box, although informed police he is a collector and did obtain a staff box recently through a swap”.
“The accused further stated he was in possession of a further ten staff boxes,” facts stated, before he allowed officers to search his property, where police saw “Spring Ridge” and “Gap” name plates had been tossed in a bin.
He told officers he collected most of the boxes from swap meets and bought some on Gumtree.
The boxes were seized by officers.
Following an investigation, Riley handed himself into police on May 6 and made full admissions to committing the break-and-enter offences at all three locations.
He told officers he wasn’t working on the night and had no permission to enter the huts.
“He was fully aware it was a breach of the Rail Safety Act, as the rail safety boxes and staff huts were in full working order and controlled the section of rail line they were stolen from,” facts said.
Following the guilty pleas in court, prosecutors withdraw a charge of unlawfully obtaining goods.
Magistrate Roger Prowse found the offences proven without conviction, placing Riley on three good behaviour bonds under Section 10.
This article first appeared on www.northerndailyleader.com.au
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