Gypsy crime gangs expanding in Australia

Aug. 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

SYDNEY, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Australian investigators say gypsy gangs may have expanded their crime operations into drug dealing.

The Daily Telegraph reported in its Tuesday edition the Department of Fair Trading has uncovered alleged ties between gypsy gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Officials estimate gypsy gang crime, which often includes scams against the elderly, nets more than $30 million year in Australia, the newspaper said. An investigator said the agency has uncovered evidence that some gang members are now involved in drug dealing with the Rebels motorcycle gang.

The agency said it has allocated $1.4 million to help stem the tide of migrant gang crime that surges from September to April.

"They cold call victims and work in pairs. They often pose as utility workers such as Energy Australia, telling the elderly target they are conducting free safety checks," the government report said. "Once they have gained access to the home they say there is a urgent problem needing immediate work. "One of the pair will also engage the victim in conversation and then the other searches the house and steals valuable."

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