The police officer charged with finding those responsible for the Army Museum medal heist says the arrest of two men just days before the medals are returned is a "nice coincidence".
Two men, aged 39 and 37, were arrested in Auckland yesterday on burglary charges connected with the break-in last December.
The 96 stolen medals, including nine Victoria Crosses, two George Crosses and an Albert Medal, are due to be returned in a ceremony next Tuesday.
Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Bensemann said the timing of the arrests was not related to the handover.
"It's purely a coincidence. The time was just right for us, but it is a nice coincidence that we're able to make the arrests at this time."
The men, who are both unemployed, were arrested separately about 9am yesterday morning and appeared in Auckland District Court in the afternoon.
They were granted name suppression and remanded in custody until October 22, when they will likely be remanded to the Wanganui District Court.
The 37-year-old also faces 42 charges of fraud, which were handled by the Auckland police and are unrelated to the Waiouru investigation.
No further arrests were likely, but Mr Bensemann said more charges could be laid after police met with the Crown Prosecutor.
Mr Bensemann would not comment on specifics of the investigation because it was now before the courts.
However, he said the two men had been "persons of interest" to the inquiry since January, and had been closely investigated.
"It's about thoroughly investigating the crime and making sure we were comfortable with the evidence we had accumulated.
"The investigation has been extremely complex and sensitive, the detail of which will become clear in due course through the court process."
Mr Bensemann said he was extremely proud of his team, who had worked very hard for the past 11 months to first ensure the medals were returned safely then identify those responsible.
"The significance of the theft of the medals to the families of the soldiers and New Zealand has never been far from our minds.
"The return of the medals undamaged in February was wonderful news but these arrests are what the Operation Valour team have worked so hard to bring about."
Army Museum director Ray Seymour welcomed the news, and had no doubt Mr Bensemann and his team would get their men.
"It's just magic. I've been waiting every day for this and here we are at day 318 since the theft and, bingo, bloody good news.
"For it to happen on the 30th anniversary of the Museum and only a few days until the medals' return is what movies are made of."
The army have also praised the police investigation.
"We would like to offer our thanks to the police for their professionalism and commitment to the investigation," deputy chief of army Brigadier Phil Gibbons said. "It is their hard work and dedication that has led to the arrests today."
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