Police revealed Tuesday that they had uncovered a burglary ring that dealt in expensive aeronautics parts stolen from the secure warehouses of the Israel Aircraft Industries.
The International and Serious Crimes Unit worked in partnership with internal units from the Ministry of Defense to investigate suspected thefts of aeronautics parts worth an estimated $200,000 from IAI warehouses.
The undercover investigation was made public Tuesday following the arrest of the main suspect, a Petah Tikvah resident who deals in aeronautic parts. A second suspect, an IAI employee from Hod Hasharon, was also arrested under suspicion of transferring the stolen parts to the main suspect.
In the course of September 2006, IAI employees noticed that expensive aeronautics parts, which had been sent for repair to the IAI, had disappeared from a warehouse.
An investigation by IAI internal oversight teams led to a Web site on which parts advertised seemed to closely resemble those reported missing. After careful inspection, the IAI team found that they were in fact the same parts that had disappeared, identifiying them by according to the unique identification number which was on each part.
The check revealed that the parts were now overseas, being sold by a company that deals in aeronautic parts. The owners of that company said that they had acquired the parts from the Petah Tikvah resident.
Investigators said Tuesday that the suspect is in fact a certified dealer in aeronautics parts and has worked closely with the IAI for many years. In the course of the investigation, they discovered, the suspect allegedly gave a the IAI a list of parts for sale, and among those parts were the stolen goods.
Police suspect that an additional company, based overseas, is now in possession of some of the parts after buying them from the principle suspect. They believe that company did not know that the parts were stolen.
The overseas client told police that the parts were shipped without their certification papers, and that the suspect told them that he would send the authenticity documents in the future. The certificates, police said, never showed up.
On Tuesday, police searched property belonging to one of the suspects, and discovered a number of aeronautics parts, which they said would be turned over to IAI authorities for investigation.