Sydney man arrested over alleged $500,000 rapid antigen test theft

Jan 20, 2022

A man will face court on Thursday, January 20, charged with the alleged theft of approximately 42,000 Rapid Antigen Tests worth more than $500,000 from a Sydney warehouse.

Officers from South Sydney Police Area Command commenced an investigation after Rapid Antigen Tests were stolen from a freight depot in Botany on Tuesday, January 18.

Following the investigation, detectives arrested three men and seized a number of items at a storage facility at Rosebery shortly before 4pm on Wednesday, January 19. The men were taken to Mascot Police Station, where they were interviewed. They have since been released pending further inquiries.

A fourth man, a 27-year-old, was arrested at Mascot Police Station, and was charged with ‘dishonestly obtain property by deception’. The man was refused bail, and is expected to appear at Central Local Court.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.

During a press conference on January 19, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet condemned the thieves’ actions and said those responsible would be found.

“At a time when everyone across our state has made incredible efforts in keeping people safe, in making sacrifices, what a disgraceful act,” he said. “And the police will catch you.”

The rapid antigen test kits remain in short supply across the country despite high demand. Despite a recent push by the government to transition from PCR testing to RAT, there has been a significant shortage of the tests across Australia, with many criticising Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government for yet another slow rollout.

Morrison has repeatedly defended the rollout of rapid testing and his approach to Omicron telling 2GB Radio recently, “Omicron has changed everything, changed absolutely everything” and that the government was “buying them (RATs) in August to meet the requirements that we had in aged care facilities, and that’s what’s being used right now”.

“The rapid antigen tests are in short supply all around the world. This is not something that is unique to Australia going through it. It’s part of dealing with Omicron. Omicron has disrupted everything, so we’ve changed so much to ensure we can get through what is a difficult period. And I want to thank Australians for their patience and pushing through. This is how we get through. We push through,” he said.

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