Police form strike force to hunt ‘grab and run’ thieves

The Ryde Police Area Command has announced the formation of a strike force to investigate a series of so-called ‘grab and run’ thefts in the north and north-west of Sydney.

Strike Force Arpen will include detectives from Ryde and other North West Metropolitan Region commands, as well as specialist officers including intelligence analysts, with assistance from the State Crime Command Robbery and Serious Crime Squad.

Officers are investigating, since March 2019, at least six incidents in which groups of young males, of African appearance, have entered retail electrical stores and stolen laptop computers, smart phones, smart watches and other devices.

They include three such organised thefts on Saturday 8 June 2019 at Artarmon, Top Ryde and Castle Hill.

Another stealing incident yesterday at Eastgardens is under investigation by Botany Bay Police Area Command.

Investigators are analysing CCTV footage of all the thefts and are trying to determine whether they are linked.

The formation of a Ryde strike force compliments a number of existing police responses including Strike Force Loroy, which is investigating similar crimes in the Sydney CBD.

Sydney City Police Area Command arrested a 15-year-old youth on Wednesday 22 May 2019 over the alleged theft of a mobile phone from a George Street retail store whilst two youths, aged 14 and 15, were arrested at Guildford and Mount Druitt by Cumberland PAC detectives earlier last month in relation to similar thefts.

Ryde Crime Manager, Detective Chief Inspector Glyn Baker, declared offenders are putting retail staff and members of the public at risk.

“These thieves tend to grab valuable devices and run from the stores without a thought for innocent bystanders around them,” Detective Chief Inspector Baker said.

“There are several investigations already underway,” he said, “This strike force will seek to formally co-ordinate those efforts in north west Sydney and target those responsible for arrest.”

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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