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Fourth person charged over alleged $500,000 opal theft - Lake Illawarra

Thursday, 11 November 2021 08:16:49 AM

Robbery and Serious Crime Squad detectives have charged a fourth person over the alleged theft of opals valued at $500,000 in the Illawarra region earlier this year.

Shortly after 1am on Wednesday 10 February 2021, four people allegedly entered a home on the Princes Highway at Albion Park Rail and demanded opal stones from the occupants’ personal collection.

The occupants – a 46-year-old man and 26-year-old woman – complied and handed over a large collection of opal stones valued at more than $500,000.

The incident was reported to officers from Lake Illawarra Police District who commenced inquiries before detectives from the State Crime Command’s Robbery and Serious Crime Squad took carriage of the investigation under Strike Force Diment.

During the investigation, strike force detectives have charged three people, a 53-year-old woman and two men – aged 28 and 27, who remain before the courts.

Following further extensive investigations, detectives arrested a man at the corner of Market and Church Streets, Wollongong, about 9.45am yesterday (Wednesday 10 November 2021).

During a search of the man, officers allegedly located and seized a quantity of methylamphetamine.

The 42-year-old man was taken to Wollongong Police Station where he was charged with three counts possess unauthorised prohibited firearm, three counts acquire prohibited firearm – subject prohibition order, two counts possess prohibited drug, possess instructions for manufacture prohibited drug, special aggravated break and enter and commit serious indictable offence – weapon, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, supply prohibited drug commercial quantity, possess ammunition without holding licence or permit or authority, acquire ammunition subject to prohibition order, supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, and supply prohibited drug more than indictable less than commercial quantity.

He was refused bail and is due to appear at Wollongong Local Court today (Thursday 11 November 2021).

Investigations under Strike Force Diment are continuing.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.