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Australian Army Officer Charged Over Rocket Theft

Three people were arrested over the theft of eight rocket launchers after a series of police raids across Sydney.

The arrests follow a long-running investigation into the disappearance of the M-72 shoulder-fired rocket launchers, designed to be used against tanks and armoured vehicles, since 2002. Only one of the weapons has been recovered.

New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Terry Collins said two men, aged 46 and 39, and a woman aged 63, had been detained after raids early on Thursday. One of the men was an army captain and the other was a former member of the Australian military.

"We will allege that a captain in the defence force was a mastermind and a key player in regard to the theft and distribution of these to criminal elements in the community," Collins told reporters.

A fourth person arrested over the rocket launchers last year was alleged to have supplied five of the weapons to a man detained in a series of anti-terrorism raids in Sydney in late 2005.

Australia's army chief, Lieutenant-General Peter Leahy, earlier said the defence forces had cooperated with state and federal police, and had since tightened security around its weapons stores.

"Anyone who breaks either federal, state or army laws is dishonouring themselves and is a disgrace to the uniform," Leahy told reporters in Canberra.


Published: April 05, 2007 09:22h


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Added: Apr-5-2007 
By: smeblee
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Tags: rockets, australia, army, theft
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