A Sydney man who police claim was part of a well-organised father-and-son burglary team has pleaded guilty today to stealing $900,000 worth of goods taken from a Melbourne warehouse.
Christopher See, 56, and his son, Phillip, 33, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged over a burglary at a Kennards Self Storage warehouse in Ivanhoe – currency, gold and silver jewellery, watches and gold and silver bullion were among the items stolen.
Christopher See, from Bellevue Hill, pleaded guilty to burglary, theft and obtaining property by deception.
Police allege that a "treasure trove" of $2.19 million in cash, $US600,000, 120 kilograms of silver bullion, war medals, five firearms and 3000 pieces of gold and silver jewellery were found when they raided a storage shed at a Sydney apartment that is allegedly connected to the Sees, two weeks after they were arrested over the Melbourne burglary in December last year.
See was released on bail to appear in the County Court on May 2 next year.
His son, Phillip, from Randwick, will contest 43 charges and is in custody.
The Sees have been named by NSW police as suspects in a spate of burglaries on Sydney's north shore between 2008 and last year that allegedly netted millions of dollars.
An earlier court hearing was told that the younger See had used portable tools to grind, cut and damage locks on almost 40 security boxes at the Kennards warehouse to take their contents.
Police claimed Phillip See had accessed the property by cutting razor wire and scaling a wire-mesh fence and had used a portable electric saw to cut into a room where the security boxes were held.
During one phone call intercepted by police, Phillip See allegedly asked his father to guess how much money he had taken, later telling him it was $300,000.
"Wait till you see it, dad. You're going to be shell-shocked. The whole thing was full. I got 80 ounces of gold," Phillip See is allegedly heard to say.
Phillip See had allegedly rented a deposit box at the Kennards warehouse for about four months from October 2011 under a pseudonym.
Police believe Phillip See took the proceeds of the burglary with him in several bags and later met up with his father at Central Station in Sydney – the pair had allegedly separated following the robbery.
One victim of the Kennards burglary, Sonia Sajnani, told the court today her jewellery collection worth more than $1 million had been stolen.
Ms Sajnani said the jewellery she had collected over 42 years included at least two kilograms of pure 22-carat gold as well as many diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
She said the biggest diamond in her collection had been five carats.
"You can't replicate jewellery of that quality and calibre," Ms Sajnani told the court during a committal hearing for Phillip See.
The hearing continues tomorrow.