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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Moment 'puppy scammer' is arrested after allegedly fleecing families out of THOUSANDS of dollars for adorable blue Staffordshire bull terriers that never arrived

  • Police have taken a bite out of an alleged online puppy scam in Sydney's west
  • Investigators say families were left heartbroken and out-of-pocket by fraudsters
  • Numerous individuals spent thousands on purebred dogs that never arrived
  • A man, 27, has been arrested and charged in relations to the alleged scheme 
An alleged online puppy scam duping potential pet owners out of thousands of dollars has been busted by dogged detectives.
NSW Police arrested a hairy-armed man, 27, in Sydney's west on Wednesday over a number of fake advertisements placed on online trading websites. 
He was later charged with 16 counts of fraud. 
An online puppy scam duping potential pet owners out of thousands of dollars has been busted by dogged detectives (pictured, the puppies which were advertised for sale)
An online puppy scam duping potential pet owners out of thousands of dollars has been busted by dogged detectives (pictured, the puppies which were advertised for sale)
Police arrested a hairy-armed man, 27, (pictured sitting down) at an Oxley Park home in Sydney over an alleged scam which was purporting to be selling puppies online
Police arrested a hairy-armed man, 27, (pictured sitting down) at an Oxley Park home in Sydney over an alleged scam which was purporting to be selling puppies online
Police say hopeful dog owners sent money to the advertiser for pure bred dogs that never arrived (pictured, the man who has since been charged)
Police say hopeful dog owners sent money to the advertiser for pure bred dogs that never arrived (pictured, the man who has since been charged)
Multiple families across Australia are believed to have been swindled out of thousands (pictured, the alleged offender)
Multiple families across Australia are believed to have been swindled out of thousands (pictured, the alleged offender)
Investigators from the Nepean Police Area Command say several individuals across Australia sent money in exchange for purebred dogs that never arrived - leaving many families heartbroken and out-of-pocket. 
'Following extensive inquiries, investigators, with the assistance from specialist tactical officers, arrested a 27-year-old man at a home at Oxley Park about 8am today,' NSW Police said. 
The adverts claimed to be selling a blue Staffordshire bull terrier puppy.
Since July police have been investigating numerous reports from individuals in Queensland, Western Australia, the ACT and NSW, that had falling victim to the alleged scam.
The above image was posted online to entice dog-lovers to purchase the blue Staffordshire bull terrier puppies (pictured)
The above image was posted online to entice dog-lovers to purchase the blue Staffordshire bull terrier puppies (pictured)
Some individuals spent transferred thousands of dollars for a puppy only to be heartbroken (pictured, the puppies advertised online)
Some individuals spent transferred thousands of dollars for a puppy only to be heartbroken (pictured, the puppies advertised online)
The sale price in fake ads is almost always far lower than the market price of the dog breed
The sale price in fake ads is almost always far lower than the market price of the dog breed
Vinnie Ward said he and his family were 'gutted' when they realised the cute puppy they paid for was actually a fake.
'We fell in love with this incredibly cute puppy after finding him online and couldn't wait to add him to our family,' Mr Ward said.
'When we discovered this puppy was never real or for sale, it was very heartbreaking. I really encourage people to be safe when purchasing puppies online.'
Detective Inspector Jason Pietruskza, warned people to be cautious before making any online purchases.
'These scams start by sourcing images of sought-after dog breeds and posting them online for sale; often at a lower price than other breeders,' Det Insp Pietruskza said.
'During the current pandemic, many scammers are also taking advantage of people not being able to travel to meet the puppy in person and charge higher fees to transport the dog interstate.
'If you think you have been scammed, we urge you to contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.'
The arrest follows the news that a former AFL star was also caught up in the cruel Internet scam and conned out of $2,850. 
Melbourne Demons midfielder Andrew Leoncelli was searching on Gumtree for Staffordshire bull terrier puppies for his children when a Google ad popped up on the page for a breeder's website.
Former AFL star Andrew Leoncelli  (pictured) lost $2,850 to an online puppy scam while trying to purchase a pet for his kids
Former AFL star Andrew Leoncelli  (pictured) lost $2,850 to an online puppy scam while trying to purchase a pet for his kids
Police said these scams start by sourcing images of sought-after dog breeds and then posting them online (pictured, an example advert)
Police said these scams start by sourcing images of sought-after dog breeds and then posting them online (pictured, an example advert)
He said the sellers website appeared to be reputable with guarantees and testimonials.
But after sending the money and exchanging a series of emails, the breeder cut contact.
Leoncelli now believes he was the target of a highly sophisticated overseas crime syndicate.
'My children were tugging at the heartstrings and my partner really wanted the puppy, but the next day after the money had cleared they were being elusive and refused to answer my calls,' he told the Herald Sun.
NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia: 'The two scams are not connected despite allegedly selling the same breed of dog.' 
Detectives had been investigating the alleged nationwide fraud scheme since early July. (pictured the 27-old-man arrested steps out of a police vehicle)
Detectives had been investigating the alleged nationwide fraud scheme since early July. (pictured the 27-old-man arrested steps out of a police vehicle)
Police say that if the advertised price of a pedigree puppy looks too good to be true, it probably is (pictured, the alleged offender)
Police say that if the advertised price of a pedigree puppy looks too good to be true, it probably is (pictured, the alleged offender)
A computer hard drive discovered at the man's home was seized by detectives for analysis
A computer hard drive discovered at the man's home was seized by detectives for analysis

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