Nine Arrested and $300,000 Worth of Stolen Goods Seized in Retail Logistics Crime Crackdown
In a significant operation, law enforcement authorities have arrested nine individuals and seized nearly $300,000 worth of stolen goods as they cracked down on an alleged organized crime syndicate that had been targeting the retail logistics chain. The investigation, led by North West Metro Regional Crime Squad detectives, commenced earlier this year after two men were apprehended while allegedly stealing a B-Double truck trailer carrying premium wine valued at over $240,000 from Truganina on June 9.
Following the initial arrests, the detectives uncovered evidence suggesting that a syndicate of thieves had been breaking into factories, distribution centres, and truck trailers belonging to major retail chains. Their aim was to steal products, which were later sold at significantly reduced prices.
Over several months, law enforcement officers have charged seven individuals with further burglaries and thefts. Among them is a 36-year-old Hoppers Crossing man who was allegedly found in possession of approximately $10,000 worth of stolen goods, including homewares and electrical items. He was charged with various offences, including theft from motor vehicles and possession of stolen property, among others, and is set to appear before the Werribee Magistrates’ Court on January 29, 2024.
Additional arrests in the operation include a 34-year-old man from Ringwood East who was charged with theft, robbery, and various other counts, and a 30-year-old man of no fixed address, who faced multiple charges related to theft and drug possession. Moreover, a 31-year-old man of no fixed address was charged with theft-related offences, and the two individuals involved in the June wine theft, aged 36 and 43, faced charges such as theft and handling stolen goods.
In addition to the arrests of alleged thieves, authorities also focused on the receivers of stolen goods, leading to the execution of multiple search warrants at various properties in Melbourne’s west. One notable seizure took place at a business in St Albans, where police discovered over $10,000 worth of stolen vitamins, baby formula, beauty products, and imported cigarettes on September 27. A 67-year-old woman was charged with multiple offences, including handling stolen goods and drug trafficking.
Another significant bust occurred at a property in Sunshine North on August 25, where police found more than $35,000 worth of stolen cosmetics, baby formula, and medications. A 34-year-old Sunshine man was charged with several offences related to stolen property.
Detectives are currently continuing their investigations, with more arrests anticipated. The public is encouraged to report any information related to stolen goods and illegal activities to Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Acting Superintendent Rhonda Brown of the North West Metro Regional Crime Squad commented on the operation, emphasizing its potential to disrupt criminal enterprises and reminding small businesses to exercise caution when purchasing products from unregistered sources, as unusually low prices may be indicative of illicit activities.