Play­boy snapped at pad

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - AN­THONY DOWSLEY AND AN­DREW JEF­FER­SON

PLAY­BOY gold dealer Alex Mendi­eta briefly re­turned to his mil­lion-dol­lar Al­bert Park apart­ment last night — days af­ter his ar­rest in con­nec­tion with a se­ries of smash-and­grab jew­ellery store rob­beries.

Mr Mendi­eta, 31, was dropped off out­side the Roy St com­plex shortly before 6pm in a blue BMW.

He reap­peared 10 min­utes later in a fresh shirt and, try­ing to hide his face, got back into the car before driv­ing away.

THE di­a­mond and gold trad­ing com­pany owned by bailed play­boy Alex Mendi­eta has alerted its loans cus­tomers that they have noth­ing to worry about.

In a sign the com­pany has been inun­dated with calls from wor­ried clients, Gold Buy­ers Mel­bourne — linked to a se­ries of jew­ellery store raids across Mel­bourne — has gone into cri­sis mode since the ar­rest of Mr Mendi­eta on Thurs­day.

“If you have loans with us, do not worry,’’ its web­site says. “The loans are safe. Call on Mon­day for any queries.’’ Po­lice swooped on Mr Mendi­eta and two as­so­ciates as they probed a se­ries of 33 jew­ellery store rob­beries in­volv­ing African youths — some linked to the Apex gang.

Colom­bian-born Mr Mendi­eta, a dual cit­i­zen, and two co-ac­cused also of Colom­bian ori­gin were re­leased on bail charged with a range of of­fences re­lat­ing to han­dling stolen goods.

Gold Buy­ers Mel­bourne closed for busi­ness for most of Fri­day and yes­ter­day, but as­sured clients its Collins St of­fice would be open to­mor­row.

Its Ade­laide sis­ter of­fice pub­lished a sim­i­lar mes­sage to clients af­ter also clos­ing its doors both days.

Mr Mendi­eta lives in an apart­ment build­ing near Al­bert Park, rent­ing an apart­ment be­low the pent­house, where he of­ten hosts lav­ish par­ties for well-heeled guests.

The spa­cious apart­ment costs him up­wards of $1000 a week to rent, but Mr Mendi­eta’s busi­ness deal­ings have been mak­ing him mil­lions.

A woman who lives in the build­ing said she was sur­prised to read the al­le­ga­tions against Mr Mendi­eta.

“He seemed like a re­ally nice guy. He gave me a lift once into the city in his Lam­borgh­ini ... I haven’t seen him for about a fort­night. I heard a ru­mour he was about to move out.”

Mr Mendi­eta, a direc­tor and sec­re­tary of five com­pa­nies, sev­eral of them loan firms, be­gan his rise e to riches in 2011 af­ter go­ing into busi­ness with his brother, Julio. He turned over $60 mil­lion in n the first six months of 2017.

Since be­ing charged and bailed on Thurs­day, Mr Mendi­eta has shut down hiss so­cial me­dia ac­counts andd re­fused to speak to me­dia.

On Fri­day, the Gangs s Crime Squad ex­e­cuted a war­rant at a CBD bank to seizee safety de­posit boxes used byy Mr Mendi­eta.

He and his co-ac­cused willl re­turn to court on Oc­to­ber 10. an­thony.dowsley@news.com.au

Alex Mendi­eta out­side his apart­ment last night. Pic­ture: YURI KOUZMIN

Im­ages of Mr Mendi­eta from his Face­book page, now shut down.

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