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Australian mint worker admits theft of coins

Written by: Staff

CANBERRA, Apr 6 (Reuters) An Australian man has pleaded guilty to stealing more than100,000 Australian dollars in new 2 Australian dollar coins from the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, a court official said today.

Australian Federal Police had accused the man of stealing the coins by hiding them in his work boots and lunch box over a 10-month period and then storing them in plastic buckets and shopping bags in the garage at his mother's house.

''He would take the coins from the trays they were placed in after stamping and conceal the coins in his pocket,'' said a police statement to the court, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

''He would then go to a toilet cubicle and transfer the coins from his pockets to his boots and walk out through security. He stole about 600 Australian dollar in 2 Australian dollar coins each time he did this.'' The man managed to avoid scrutiny because most workers at the mint wore steel-capped shoes, which set off metal detectors, and they were not required to remove them during random screening.

On several occasions the contract worker also hid coins in his lunchbox, holding it high near his chin while he was swept with a hand-held screening device, the police statement said.

He was arrested in southern Victoria state two months ago trying to change a large number of coins into notes.

The Royal Australian Mint has since upgraded security.

The 48-year-old man will be sentenced at a later date.


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