A former courier driver involved in the theft of about $2 million of high-performance engines and transmissions from Holden’s plant at Elizabeth in Adelaide has been jailed for six years.
Richard Andres Jorquera, 27, was one of seven people arrested in July last year after 140 V8 engines and 175 high-powered transmissions disappeared from the production plant over a two-year period.
Jorquera admitted stealing nearly 140 parts using his courier van over 18 months but pleaded guilty to two counts of theft when he faced the Adelaide District Court, under a deal with the prosecution.
Judge Michael Boylan said the scheme had been operating for some time before Jorquera got involved, in September 2010.
But he said the man must have known what he was doing was illegal.
“During that period you were working as a courier driver and in that capacity you got to know people working at Holden (and involved in the thefts),” he said.
“You would have known that you were joining an illegal enterprise. The fact that the offending was so sustained is especially significant.”
The court was told Jorquera was paid $30,000 for his involvement.
Judge Boylan said it was “unusual” he would sentence Jorquera for just two counts of theft given the number of parts taken and the number of occasions involved.
“Until this offending, you had led a law-abiding life and I treat you as a first offender,” he said.
“I accept that the chief reason for your offending was your desire to impress and support your wife.
“I suspect that you have let yourself be too readily influenced by others. I accept that you are truly sorry for your behaviour.”
Despite reducing the sentence due to Jorquera’s early guilty plea and contrition, Judge Boylan said the offending was well-organised, sustained and too serious to suspend the six-year prison term and three-year non-parole period.
Six other people are to face trial for their alleged involvement, including a former Holden employee.