Buenos Aires Times

argentina 'OPERATION HOLLYWOOD STOLEN'

Police seize stolen Hollywood film equipment worth US$3 million

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said Friday that Argentine authorities worked in conjunction with the FBI, the New York Police Department and the US Embassy in Buenos Aires on an operation to break up a criminal gang.

Friday 14 September, 2018
Stolen film equipment is displayed for a media presentation at the police department in Buenos Aires, Friday, September 14, 2018. Argentine authorities say they have seized about US$3 million in cameras, lenses and other film equipment stolen in Hollywood and New York.
Stolen film equipment is displayed for a media presentation at the police department in Buenos Aires, Friday, September 14, 2018. Argentine authorities say they have seized about US$3 million in cameras, lenses and other film equipment stolen in Hollywood and New York. Foto:AP-Natacha Pisarenko

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Argentine authorities say they have seized about US$3 million in cameras, lenses and other film equipment stolen in Hollywood and New York.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said Friday that Argentine authorities worked in conjunction with the FBI, the New York Police Department and the US Embassy in Buenos Aires.

"The team worked together, with the Federal Police, the US Embassy, ​​the FBI and the New York Police Department," she said at a press conference.

Authorities said they were able to break up a criminal gang that stole the equipment from Hollywood producers and rented it on the black market for movies and advertising in Argentina.

Argentina's Federal Police said in a statement that it became aware of an NYPD investigation related to the matter two years ago. Police said they then collaborated to infiltrate the film production underworld and follow suspects, tap their phones and film their movements until they found the equipment that had been reported stolen in the US.

Dozens of cases with costly cameras marked with the word "seized," as well as tripods, lights and other professional film equipment were displayed at a press conference Friday in the capital.

Officials said 17 computers, 33 tripods, 224 precision film lenses, 69 film cameras, eight photographic cameras, 82 lights, 15 generators, six monitors, 52 batteries and two microphones were among the items seized.

Federal Police Chief Néstor Roncaglia said 17 people are being investigated as part of the so-called operation "Hollywood Stolen," which was set up to dismantle the gang's operations. Four others have been detained in the United States.

As part of the operation, 10 raids were carried out in the Palermo neighbourhood of the capital, where most of those involved in the plot were based.

- AP/AFP

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