Police smoke out thieves for stealing $7m worth of cigarettes

Hobsons Bay Crime Investigation Unit detectives have charged two men following an investigation into the alleged theft of over $7 million worth of cigarettes.

It’s alleged that on 5 September, a B-double trailer was stolen from a transport distribution centre in Altona which contained the cigarettes.

Following a thorough investigation, detectives this week executed 14 warrants at residential and commercial premises, seizing the following items:

  • Vehicles including a tow truck, fork lift and prime mover
  • 1.5kg gold ingot and 10 1kg silver ingots
  • Nearly $240,000 in cash
  • Tobacco items including 190 packets of prohibited import brands of cigarettes, over 400 pouches of loose-leaf tobacco and over 480 cartons of cigarettes
  • Weapons including an imitation assault rifle, .40 calibre firearm magazine and ammunition
  • 25 vials of steroids
  • Electronic equipment including mobile phones, computers and hard drives

A 32-year-old Hoppers Crossing man was charged on Tuesday evening with two counts of theft to the value of approximately $7.3million and failing to provide police with a phone PIN number. He was bailed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday 3 December.

A 33-year-old Sunshine man was charged with two counts of possessing the proceeds of crime and failing to provide police with a phone PIN number. He was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 22 September 2022.

Detectives also arrested a further seven males at the warrants this week who were released pending further enquiries.

The warrants were executed over the course of this week in the following suburbs:

  • Altona North
  • Hoppers Crossing
  • Laverton North
  • Niddrie
  • Roxburgh Park
  • Sunshine
  • Williamstown

The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information about criminal activity is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

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