A group of men were involved in the theft of iPhones from a warehouse.
A group of men were involved in the theft of iPhones from a warehouse.

Worker faces deportation over $31,000 phone heist

A warehouse operator took a $31,000 hit when three workers decided to knock off boxes of iPhones that were awaiting distribution.

Despite good security measures including CCTV and invoice checks, the offenders were able to move the stored boxes to another section of the Ipswich warehouse, then drive off with them.

One of the offenders, Russell Foe Tafilipepe, appeared from jail via video-link for sentence in the Ipswich District Court for his role in the phone heist.

The Samoan-born offender now faces deportation after another recent conviction for a weapons offence.

Tafilipepe, 34, pleaded guilty to stealing iPhones with a value of more than $5000 from DB Schenker Pty at Redbank in January 2018.

Crown prosecutor Victoria Adams said Tafilipepe was party to and aided in the offences that involved 20 iPhones, which had a wholesale value of $1555 each.

She said he moved the boxes of mobile phones to another section of the building.

Some weeks later the phones were moved to a van parked outside the warehouse, and taken away.

Ms Adams said a labour hire company was hit with the $31,000 loss.

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said Tafilipepe had worked "as a bit of a team to acquire these 20 handsets".

The court heard he had spent seven months in jail as a result of being sentenced in Ipswich Magistrates Court on a charge of dangerous conduct with a weapon, after he discharged a firearm.

Judge Michael Byrne QC said Tafilipepe received a 15-month jail term for that offence.

The court heard that because he was not an Australian citizen there was a risk of deportation.

"He is a very enthusiastic worker, and hopes to remain in Australia to engage in logistics, warehouse work," Mr Kissick said.

Judge Byrne said Tafilipepe was a contractor and in a position of trust at the time.

He also noted that while on bail for the phone offences he had discharged a weapon

Tafilipepe was sentenced to a 12-month jail term to be suspended after he serves two months.

Judge Byrne saying he was aware Tafilipepe was likely to be deported.

In March a logistics supervisor at DB Schenker Pty who ended up with nearly $8000 in stolen iPhones, Neil Tukiafe Efalaimo Togiapoe, 32, from Camira, was convicted in the Ipswich District Court and fined $1500 for being in possession of tainted property in February 2018.