Chilean teen charged over $1m in high-end thefts to stay be­hind bars

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - JES­SICA CORTIS

A South Amer­i­can teenager who was al­legedly part of an in­ter­na­tional theft syn­di­cate that stole more than $1 mil­lion worth of lux­ury goods will re­main be­hind bars af­ter she was charged and ex­tra­dited to NSW from Vic­to­ria.

Anas­tas­sia Saave­dra Urzua is one of eight Chilean na­tion­als charged with steal­ing de­signer prod­ucts, cash and gold in ag­gra­vated break-ins in Syd­ney and Mel­bourne over sev­eral months.

The group is sus­pected of sim­i­lar of­fences in Canada, the US, Queens­land, the ACT and Vic­to­ria.

The 19-year-old also faced charges for ly­ing to po­lice about her mi­gra­tion sta­tus, a Syd­ney court heard yes­ter­day.

Ms Saave­dra Urzua ap­peared via au­dio­vi­sual link at Cen­tral Lo­cal Court af­ter she was charged with two counts of know­ingly deal­ing with the pro­ceeds of crime.

Po­lice al­lege she sent over­seas up to $40,000 worth of lux­ury items stolen from high-end stores around Syd­ney and North Strath­field. Her ar­rest is part of an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into 80 ag­gra­vated break-ins across Syd­ney over three months last year. Po­lice be­lieve mem­bers of the syn­di­cate, in­clud­ing a pos­si­ble ring­leader, are still on the run.

Se­ri­ous Crimes Squad Com­man­der De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Daniel Do­herty said po­lice were tipped off about the syn­di­cate by au­thor­i­ties in Canada, where 14 peo­ple have been ar­rested in Toronto over $2.5m worth of theft.

“It was very well planned. They were re­search­ing the premises, the ar­eas. That is what we will al­lege in court,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Do­herty said late last year when the mem­bers were ar­rested.

“There were look­outs. They had sto­ries ready to go about why they were in the area … It was a very co-or­di­nated crim­i­nal group get­ting in and get­ting out. It’s not hard to re­search cer­tain homes in Syd­ney, re­ally, or any­where.’’

Ms Saave­dra Urzua did not ap­ply for bail yes­ter­day and it was for­mally re­fused by mag­is­trate Robert Wil­liams. The mat­ter is due back in the same court in early March, when Ms Saave­dra Urzua is sched­uled to ap­pear again via video link.

Mean­while, po­lice have laid a fur­ther 65 charges on sev­eral other mem­bers of the al­leged shoplift­ing syn­di­cate.

Guio­vanni Sal­adri­gas Gar­cia, 22, has been charged with 19 counts of ag­gra­vated break, en­ter, and steal, and Diana Veloso Her­nan­dez, 36, faces 16 counts of the same of­fence.

They both re­main in cus­tody and will ap­pear in Bur­wood Lo­cal Court, in Syd­ney’s in­ner west, on Jan­uary 23.

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