A former Yarra Trams worker who stole IT gear worth $230,000 got caught when a computer overheated, a court has heard.

Paul Hewer, 36, worked in Yarra Trams’ IT department until late 2020, where his job involved distributing laptops, phones and tablets to staff.

But it took Yarra Trams two years to realise that Hewer had also been distributing the valuable gear to himself and selling it on Facebook marketplace.

Hewer made about $54,000 from the scam from 2018 until November 2020, finally landing in hot water when one of the 132 laptops he’d sold began to overheat.

The new owner asked Dell to fix the problem, but the computer company told him it couldn’t, unless he completed a “transfer of ownership” from the registered owner, Yarra Trams.

After he followed up with Yarra Trams, the public transport operator began to investigate, finding CCTV showing Hewer visiting head office outside work hours and leaving with boxes of mobile phones.

Then, a police search of Hewer’s car uncovered stolen gear including iPhones and an Apple watch, along with hair growth treatment and vials of steroids, which Hewer told his lawyer he “used for training and weight loss”.

Hewer admitted the scam to police, the court heard, but he told them he could not remember how many computers and phones he had sold.

On Monday, he appeared in court via video link and asked to be sentenced by a magistrate, rather than face a higher court.

Prosecutors have withdrawn 128 charges against him, replacing them with four…

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