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Fugitive NZ pair arrested in Sydney

Fugitive NZ couple  Paul James Bennett and partner Simone Anne Wright, who were arrested in Sydney on Monday (February 16). Photo stuff.co.nz

Fugitive NZ couple Paul James Bennett and partner Simone Anne Wright, who were arrested in Sydney on Monday (February 16). Photo stuff.co.nz

Sydney – AAP  A fugitive New Zealand couple suspected of defrauding a helicopter company and sexually assaulting a teenager have been arrested in Sydney.

Police arrested two New Zealanders on an stolen boat worth $NZ150,000 ($A144,000) in Broken Bay, north of Sydney, overnight on Monday.

The pair are 52-year-0ld Paul James Bennett and his 38-year-old partner Simone Anne Wright.

About 9pm on Monday 16 February, 2015 a triple zero call was made to authorities identifying a stolen yacht observed sailing off Avoca Beach.

About 9.30pm officers from the Broken Bay Marine Area Command boarded the vessel as it made its way into the mouth of Cowan Creek.

Bennett and Wright were detained and the yacht was seized.

The vessel was towed to Broken Bay Water Police where they were arrested and taken to Dee Why Police Station.

Investigators from the Marine Area Command commenced inquiries with New Zealand police regarding the ownership of the yacht and the identity of the crew.

Bennett was later charged with receiving stolen goods from outside NSW and an outstanding warrant.

He has been refused bail to appear at the Downing Centre District Court today.

Wright was released pending further inquiries.

New Zealand police say there’s a warrant out for their arrest and both have been evading police since May.

The pair allegedly stole the yacht from Whangarei earlier this month.

Bennett’s also accused of defrauding Canterbury helicopter company HeliPower out of $NZ250,000.

Company director Mike Jacomb, who put up a $NZ50,000 reward for their capture, said he was ‘over the moon’ that the pair had been arrested.

New Zealand police say it’s too early to comment on whether they’d be extradited to New Zealand.


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