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Four men have been arrested and charged for their involvement in a crime syndicate targeting jewellers
Four men have been arrested and charged for their involvement in a crime syndicate targeting jewellers

Alleged international crime syndicate targets jewellers

NSW police have arrested four men in relation to an alleged international crime syndicate involving Sydney jewellery ‘dealers’ and last month’s International Jewellery Fair (IJF).

A NSW Police Force statement dated 18 September stated three Chilean men were arrested on 16 September at Sydney Airport while another Chilean man was arrested on 14 September.

According to the statement, the arrests came after detectives from NSW State Crime Command’s Property Crime Squad established a division called Strike Force Brilliant. 

The aim of the division was to investigate a number of thefts and break and enter offences, mainly targeting jewellery ‘dealers’ and members of the public making withdrawals at financial institutions across Sydney in August and September this year.

Jewellers targeted

It is believed that one incident took place during the IJF held at the Sydney International Convention Centre (ICC) in August and involved the attempted theft of Thomas Sabo jewellery valued at $10,000.

Phil Edwards, managing director of Thomas Sabo local distributor Duraflex Group Australia, explained that an alleged offender distracted a Thomas Sabo sales representative who had a jewellery carry bag.

During the distraction, Edwards said a second person attempted to walk away with the carry bag but was noticed by a Duraflex colleague in time to say something. At this point the alleged offender left the bag and hurriedly walked off through the building; police were able to obtain fingerprints from the bag.

The episode took place around the registration desk in the foyer area and Edwards said it was opportunistic because the offender could not have known what the bag contained.

In another incident at the time of the IJF, a break-and-enter occurred at a diamond exhibitor’s Darling Harbour hotel room. There were no jewellery or diamonds in the room at the time and it is believed the company’s staff were followed from the fair to the hotel one day prior to the attempted robbery taking place.

CCTV footage of two men understood to be responsible for the hotel room break-in showed them in the ICC foyer area of the jewellery fair’s entrance. At the time of publication, Jeweller was unaware if this incident was connected to the recent arrests.

The police statement added that more than 17 incidents were being investigated and that the four men – aged 23, 30, 43 and 52 – allegedly entered Australia on tourist or student visas and “wore disguises and distracted victims while other syndicate members stole their property”.

A video posted on NSW Police Force’s Facebook page noted the jewellery and cash stolen totalled $600,000.

Ongoing investigations

All four appeared at Liverpool Local Court on Monday 18 September. Three men were charged with five counts of steal from person as well as participating in a criminal group; the fourth alleged offender was charged with three counts of steal from person, armed with intent to commit an indictable offence and participate in a criminal group.

A NSW Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed all four pled not guilty and were scheduled to appear in court again on 13 November.

Jeweller contacted NSW police for additional information, including the value of the stolen jewellery items excluding cash, but was advised no further details could be provided while the matter was before the court.

Detectives have released CCTV footage of a number of men who they believe may assist with the ongoing investigations.

Anyone with information that could help police is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.

The statement added that further arrests in relation to the alleged crime syndicate were anticipated.

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