Three charged over theft, distribution of guns in Illawarra

Three men have been charged and a fourth is being sought over the alleged theft and distribution of five handguns in the Illawarra region, NSW Police say.

Police from Lake Illawarra Local Area Command have been investigating the theft of the guns from a property in Surfers Parade, Thirroul, about 11.45pm on last Friday (24 November 2017).

Strike Fore Lynrob was formed to further investigate the distribution of the guns and about 2am yesterday (Thursday 30 November 2017), police recovered a backpack containing one of the stolen handguns after stopping a taxi on Shellharbour Road at Warrawong.

Some hours later, officers arrested two men and took them to Lake Illawarra Police Station where they were charged. A second handgun was recovered when a search warrant was executed at Warilla.

A 33-year-old man, from Warilla, has been charged with nine offences:

• Supply prohibited firearm to unauthorised person (two counts)

• Supply pistol to person unauthorised to possess it

• Use, supply etc stolen firearm or firearm part

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• Possess unauthorised pistol

• Not keep firearm safely

• Goods in personal custody suspected being stolen

• Knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and

• An outstanding warrant.

A 51-year-old man, from Warrawong, has been charged with four offences:

• Supply prohibited firearm to unauthorised person

• Possess unauthorised pistol

• Acquire firearm part without authority to do so

• Knowingly deal with proceeds of crime

Both men were refused bail to appear in Wollongong Local Court today (Friday 1 December 2017).

A 27-year-old man, from Mt Warrigal, is already before the courts charged with 15 offences relating to the alleged theft and distribution of the handguns. He remains in custody and is due to re-appear in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

Police are working to locate a fourth man believed involved in the incident and inquiries are continuing into the whereabouts of the remaining three guns.