Police have arrested two men after hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of opals were allegedly stolen from a business in the outback opal mining town of Coober Pedy.

SA police said the theft took place over the long weekend, with a number of suspects allegedly stealing opals, cash and jewellery from a safe.

Following investigations, police arrested two local men: Matthew Peter Riessen, 33, and Sebastian Peter Wayne Roesch, 22.

Both men were charged with aggravated serious criminal trespass and theft and appeared in the Port Augusta Magistrates Court on Thursday.

They were each granted release on bail to return to court in September.

Coober Pedy Retail, Business and Tourism Association chairman, George Kountouris said traditionally, opal miners were “a secretive lot”.

“We tend not to show opals, we tend not to show money … whoever did this took a ‘potluck’ at this business,” he said.

The local business owner and miner said in a small town like Coober Pedy, a theft like this was devastating, and hoped police would recover the stolen goods.

“It does have an impact, I think people are much more cautious, but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue being an easy-go-lucky, friendly town,” Mr Kountouris said.

It comes less than a week before Coober Pedy kicks off their annual three-day Opal Festival, but Mr Kountouris says it will not have an impact.

“Most people here are quite resilient, it’s just a shame Coober Pedy makes the headlines for the wrong reasons, but it’s one of those things,” he said.

“With a new influx of people, we expect there’s going to be different levels of criminality that come into town.

“It’s something that can happen anywhere, it’s not just Coober Pedy, we’re a pretty united community here, the business community, and we’re just going to help the police wherever we possibly can.”

Investigations are continuing to recover the stolen items and locate outstanding suspects.

Police ask anyone with information that may help to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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