Site evacuated over block fire


One of the women is led away to face identity crime charges.

Story appeared in: Review | December 4th, 2017



RESIDENTS from seven units were evacuated after fire broke out at South Granville in the early hours of Friday morning.
Emergency services called to the Ostend Street unit block at 2.40am, found a ground-floor unit well-alight, with neighbouring residents leaving their homes as a precaution while firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW worked to control the blaze.
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the blaze is yet to be determined.

CCTV film sparking hunt
DETECTIVES investigating the murder of Kemel Barakat in Mortlake in March, have released CCTV footage of a group of men seen in the foyer of his apartment block two days before his death.
On November 8, Strike Force Yarramba detectives charged a 28-year-old Guildford man with murder, accessory before the fact to murder, and participating in a criminal group, contributing to criminal activity and he remains before the courts.
Detectives from the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad established Strike Force Yarramba to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr Barakat's murder.
Police believe that four men arrived at the unit complex in a stolen Mercedes C63 wagon shortly before 2.30am on March 10.
The men allegedly entered the complex through a rear fire door, gained access to Mr Barakat's unit and shot him dead, before fleeing the scene in the Mercedes which was later found burnt-out at Belmore.
The Homicide Squad's Detective Chief Inspector Mark Henney said investigators believed the vision from March 8, showed a failed attempt to access the unit.
"Investigators also believe it was a paid contract killing, and the CCTV shows a group of people at the unit complex who may have information about what happened two days later," he said.
"As I have previously said, the shooting was calculated and carried out with a fair amount of precision. It was also cowardly – we are talking about sneaking-in in the middle of the night and executing a man in bed.
"Our investigation into all the circumstances surrounding Mr Barakat's death are ongoing, and we'd like anyone who has relevant information to get in touch."

Dismantle ID theft ring
FOUR men and three women have been charged in relation to an ongoing joint-agency investigation into alleged identity crime offences following raids at Merrylands and Guildford on Wednesday.
Operation Loa was established in June by the Identity Security Strike Team (ISST), a multi-jurisdictional initiative between the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
As a result of their inquiries, investigators allegedly uncovered an organised network stealing mail, specifically targeting financial information and cards.
Account holders were allegedly impersonated during telephone calls to gather further identity information, before goods or cash withdrawals were made using the fraudulent credit cards.
Early on Wednesday morning, ISST officers executed seven search warrants across the Sydney Metropolitan area, allegedly seizing a number of items including two assault rifles, various forms of identification, fraudulently obtained credit cards, an EFTPOS terminal, stolen mail and documentation.
Among the seven people arrested during the raids, was a 29-year-old Merrylands man who was charged with an outstanding warrant for an unrelated matter, possessing a prohibited drug, and possessing identity information. A 58-year-old Guildford woman has also been charged with charged with dealing with identity crime and participating in a criminal group.
AFP detective superintendent Brett James said the operation also uncovered allegations of corruption within a Commonwealth Government agency.
"We believe the behaviour uncovered through this investigation was opportunistic and on an individual scale," he said.
"What it tells us though is that criminal networks will seek to exploit any vulnerability they can."
NSWPF State Crime Command's Fraud and Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, praised the work of the ISST in successfully dismantling the group.
Investigations under Operation Loa are continuing and anyone with information about identity fraud can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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Publication: Review | Section: News | Author: Kim Palmer | Story ID: 133259 | Viewcount: 669

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