A not-so-bright Illawarra criminal who swore black and blue he had nothing to do with the theft of half-a-million dollars worth of opals from a home in Dapto was busted discussing the spoils of the crime in recorded jail phone calls with his partner.
Despite being warned his conversations were being monitored, Lachlan Alcock openly talked about the "rocks" and their whereabouts with his partner while he was being held in custody on remand last year.
"Are my rocks and that out of the f--king drawers?" he asked the woman on May 22, 2021, less than two weeks after his arrest in Victoria.
On May 29, he said "baby, in the red car, my rocks are in there. I am doing jail for a long time for something, if they get touched, I am f--ked."
In early June Alcock told his partner she needed to get rid of the "proof", then a few days later told her there was a "$200,000 f--king opal" in an elephant statue in their lounge room.
Detectives presented Alcock with recordings of the calls as part of what prosecutors described as an "overwhelming" brief of evidence, however Alcock still maintained his innocence up until at least December last year, insisting he would take the case to trial.
But Alcock changed his tune earlier this month, confessing to what he had denied for nearly a year.
Documents tendered to the court said Alcock and three other men drove to the Dapto home in the early hours of February 10 last year using Alcock's Ford XR6.
Armed with weapons, the group forced its way into the home, held the two occupants up at gunpoint and stole more than 1000 opals in a timed operation that took less than two minutes. Their arrival and departure was caught on CCTV camera.
The owner said the stones included opal roughs, opal rubs, fossils and polished stones, the most valuable of which were worth between $5,000 and $10,000.
Detectives began intercepting Alcock's telephone calls a month later and recorded him speaking about the stolen stones with associates on at least 10 occasions, arranging to sell or swap them.
Division in the ranks
Intercepted telephone calls reveal Alcock had a falling out with one of his alleged accomplices at the start of April, with the pair overheard arguing on the division of the stolen opals.
"You said we only had 80, where the f--k's the big one?" Alcock wrote in a text message sent to the co-accused on April 1.
"Never to be seen again, you f--ked us, and you know you're guilty hence why you're being so weird."
The following day he wrote "you think for one second you don't owe us? There is more than 80 stones, you and I both know you planned on ripping the wrong c--t c--ksucker, see ya soon."
The argument continued a week later, with Alcock again confronting the man via text message.
"F--k you dickhead, you stole from me to begin with because you thought I was a gronk," he said.
The court heard Alcock turned to trusted friend Ricky Munn to sell the stones at the end of April.
Munn headed to Victoria, keeping in touch with Alcock about his progress, including the potential for the pair to swap some of the stones for 2kg of drugs, which they believed they could sell for about $300,000.
Meanwhile, the animosity between Alcock and his alleged accomplice grew.
"Aye c--ksucker, you know the funny thing about you ripping me, I just got for mine $142k motherf--ker, so good luck with your little packets and shit you been selling them," Alcock boasted on May 7 last year.
No further details of any such sale was provided in court, however Alcock's apparent good fortune was about to come to a swift end.
Victorian detectives swooped on the Adina Apartments in St Kilda four days later, arresting Munn and Alcock, who had travelled to Melbourne with his family to see Munn in person.
Alcock agreed to be interviewed by police, although it did neither party a lot of good in the long run.
Alcock was adamant he was no thief, instead claiming the opals belonged to his father.
He spun detectives a sob story about family heirlooms, telling them "I had the opals since my dad passed away, that was six or seven years ago".
"Three of us got them," he said. "My brother, me and my sister. That's it, that's all I can say to you."
When asked if there was another place the stones could have come from, Alcock replied "not a chance, no way in hell. My dad was a miner."
However, police were not convinced in the slightest - they'd been intercepting his phone calls for two months and he'd never mentioned the opals as belonging to his father.
Alcock and Munn were extradited to Sydney on May 14, 2021.
Alcock was remanded in custody, with his incriminating conversations with his partner recorded in the following weeks.
He was released from jail in November last year to attend drug rehab in Nowra but was returned to custody in February after absconding from the program.
Alcock pleaded guilty last month to charges of special aggravated break and enter and commit serious indictable offence and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
He will face sentencing on August 23.
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