Tenth person charged over $1.2 million international organised theft syndicate

Detectives have extradited a Chilean National from Victoria over his alleged role in a $1.2 million international organised theft syndicate.

In November 2018, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Robbery and Serious Crime Squad established Strike Force Merengue to investigate the activities of an organised theft syndicate, which included aggravated break-ins across Sydney, shoplifting at designer stores and bag snatches across Sydney.

Nine people, all Chilean Nationals, have been charged during the investigation and remain before the courts.

A tenth person, a 65-year-old man, was arrested at Melbourne Airport by Victoria Police on Sunday 7 April 2019 over alleged theft offences.

Following further inquiries, Strike Force Merengue investigators travelled to Victoria, where they sought and were granted his extradition to NSW yesterday (Tuesday 9 July 2019).

The man, who is a Chilean National, was escorted on a flight by detectives to Sydney yesterday and, with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police, he was taken to Mascot Police Station.

The man was charged with make false statement to officer purposes Migration Act, five counts of steal from person, larceny, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the theft of handbags, backpacks, wallets, wedding rings and other personal property across Sydney’s CBD, before cash was shipped overseas.

The man was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Wednesday 10 July 2019).

Robbery and Serious Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, praised the work of detectives.

“Strike Force Merengue investigators have been very thorough and diligent in disrupting what is a multi-million-dollar co-ordinated theft syndicate,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“We have now put a tenth person before the courts and are continuing to work closely with our international law enforcement partners to intercept stolen items shipped overseas.

“However, we continue to call on members of the community to be vigilant about keeping your homes and personal property secure to lower the risk of you and your family becoming victims of crime.

“Everyone can do their part – if you see something or someone suspicious, we urge you to contact police,” Det Supt Doherty said.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Merengue investigators 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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