23 June 2023

Alleged mobile phone thieves accused of burglarising Westfield Belconnen store

| Albert McKnight

Alan Hiribee Malibe was granted bail on Wednesday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A pair alleged to have stolen 46 mobile phones after breaking into an electronics store in Westfield Belconnen have been arrested, although a third suspect remains at large.

It is alleged Alan Hiribee Malibe, Louis Schuang and an unidentified third man forced their way into the mall at about 12:30 am on Wednesday (21 June) by pulling apart glass sliding doors to the complex, court documents say.

Mr Schuang allegedly tried to break into a CeX store using an angle grinder while all three occasionally kicked at its security gate. Mr Malibe allegedly used a small axe to hack at the side of the gate.

The trio allegedly managed to break inside the store where they filled up two bags with 46 mobile phones.

Meanwhile, security say they spotted them breaking into the store and called police.

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Police officers were patrolling Cohen Street at about 12:45 am and reportedly saw Mr Schuang across the Westfield car park. He was arrested after a short chase.

Officers also found a bag in the bushes near where he had originally been spotted. The bag contained 30 mobile phones.

Then at about 1 am, police were patrolling Cameron Avenue when it alleged they saw Mr Malibe hiding behind a hedge and arrested him.

The officers also found a bag in the same area containing about 16 phones.

The pair did not enter pleas when they were charged with aggravated burglary in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (21 June).

Mr Malibe applied to be released on bail, which was opposed by the prosecutor on the likelihood of him allegedly reoffending or interfering with evidence.

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The 20-year-old’s lawyer, Legal Aid’s Sam Brown, said his client had no criminal history and there was nothing to indicate he wouldn’t comply with bail.

He argued conditions could ameliorate the risk of alleged reoffending and said the alleged burglary was captured on closed-circuit television footage, which reduced the risk of tampering with evidence.

He also said his client, who is from Sutton in NSW, worked inconsistently as a labourer.

Magistrate Ian Temby said the fact Mr Malibe could live some way away from Belconnen was of some comfort, noted how he had no prior criminal history and granted bail.

Mr Schuang, a 21-year-old from Bonner, did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody.

Both of the men’s matters were adjourned to 12 July.

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