Arrests in Upper Hutt over door-to-door art scam

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Police in Upper Hutt are warning residents to be wary of people selling art door-to-door.
Police in Upper Hutt are warning residents to be wary of people selling art door-to-door.

An Israeli man and a Chilean woman have been arrested in Upper Hutt after being busted in a door-to-door art scam.

The 23-year-old man and 33-year-old woman are accused of selling artworks door to door in the area for the past few days.

Police allege buyers are being misled into believing the art was worth more than it was, Senior Sergeant Brent Murray said.

The pair were caught after a complaint was laid with police yesterday morning, followed by further complaints last night.

They have both been charged with obtaining by deception and were to appear in Upper Hutt District Court today.

A third man, a New Zealander, was spoken to by police but has not been charged.

"The Department of Immigration has been involved in the inquiry and is aware of the arrests we have made.

We've since had further complaints of art sales in Upper Hutt," Mr Murray said

It appeared the group was the same group recently reported in the Nelson area selling art door to door, Mr Murray said.

In mid-March seven Israelis were found to be selling the art in the Nelson region.

One was an overstayer and was taken into custody pending deportation, five were working in breach of their visitor visas and were served with deportation liability notices and another was warned about working in breach of visa conditions.

Mr Murray warned people needed to be wary of this scam.

"It is a matter of buyer beware when completing the transaction."

- APNZ

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