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Operation Snatch - Property Items Recovered:

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Waitemat Police say they have recovered numerous items of stolen property, during an investigation into hand bag thefts in the Auckland region.

The investigation codenamed Operation Snatch terminated on 15 June 2008.

Operation Snatch was activated by the Waitemat Law Enforcement Team.

LET is a special operations group that exists in all of the twelve Police Districts.

They investigate high volume crimes such as thefts, fraud, and stolen vehicles.

Thirty police investigators were deployed. Fifteen search warrants executed.

Nine males were duly charged with a variety of offences including theft, aggravated robbery, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and drug offences. A cannabis growing operation was a surprise discovery at one residence visited.

The LET team targeted a group of male suspects for numerous hand bag thefts throughout metropolitan Auckland over period March to May this year.

A large number of these brazen thefts were carried out in West Auckland. There were 30 separate incidents reported. Most victims were Asian females.

Detective Senior Sergeant James Bothamley of LET says an organised criminal gang had targeted the Asian and Ethnic communities at shopping malls and other locations over several months. These offenders were a tightly knit group.

"They observed and monitored the victims closely, in the belief that their chosen targets carried large sums of cash, credit cards, and select jewellery."

"Although the majority of these handbag offenders have merely been charged with theft and dishonesty offences, the operational outcome is we achieved our desired objectives by neutralising this group of young criminals."

"These arrests are gratifying for all the police personnel involved. We had an array of policing resources at our disposal which we used with fullest effect."

"Now we can seek to return the recovered property to their rightful owners."

"Accordingly we've listed more than 60 of these items on the Police website."

"Anyone who has been a victim of any recent handbag theft in the Auckland metropolitan region can go to the police website to check for their personal property. They then advise and confirm their credentials with police so that a suitable time to collect their own items can be arranged," Mr. Bothamley said.

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