IT worker bailed after allegedly stealing $600,000 worth of Amazon equipment

By police reporter Mark Reddie

Updated July 20, 2018 07:06:52

An Australian IT worker has been granted bail after facing court for allegedly stealing more than half a million dollars from global giant Amazon.

Christopher Hawker is accused of ordering 31 large external hard drives from Amazon Web Services in the United States, the tech arm of the company, between April and October last year.

The Snowball devices are used by major companies around the globe to transfer large amounts of data to a cloud service at faster speeds than the internet.

FBI investigators alerted New South Wales police after Amazon claimed one of its customers failed to pay for the devices, worth an estimated $600,000.

Amazon said users are required to return the devices to the US once data has been uploaded to them so that it can be stored on a cloud server.

Detectives arrested the 26-year-old yesterday morning after pulling him over as he was driving at Waverley.

Eight police officers seized the devices from the garage and bedroom of his Bronte home during a search.

Mr Hawker suffers from autism and in applying for bail, his lawyer argued that the condition "would make him vulnerable if he was remanded in custody".

The magistrate granted him bail at Waverley Court on the condition he not access the internet by himself, and only while at work.

The IT administrator, who was charged with larceny, has been prohibited from accessing Amazon and will have to report to police twice a week, otherwise he could be sent to prison.

Police allege Mr Hawker dismantled some of the Snowball devices and are investigating whether he had plans to sell the parts to make a profit.

Detective Acting Superintendent Matt Craft said the joint investigation shows the importance of strong working relationships between intelligence agencies.

"We now live in a global economy, which means the technology we enjoy can also be exploited by anyone in the world, so a collaborative approach is vital," he said.

"Cyber crime is a growing challenge and this investigation shows just how easy it can be to track down anyone thinking about committing a crime from their computer."

Mr Hawker is due to appear at Waverley Court again next month.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, courts-and-trials, fraud-and-corporate-crime, waverley-2024

First posted July 19, 2018 18:01:22