BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentine authorities said Friday that they had seized about $3 million in cameras, lenses and other film equipment stolen in Hollywood and New York.
Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said that officials worked in conjunction with the FBI, the New York Police Department and the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires in the operation called “Hollywood Stolen.”
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 U.S.
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Authorities said they carried out 10 raids on Thursday and were able to break up a criminal gang that stole the equipment from Hollywood producers and rented it on the black market to companies for the production of movies and TV commercials in Argentina.
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 news conference in the capital of Buenos Aires.
Argentine Federal Police Chief Nestor Roncaglia said 17 people are being investigated.