An inner-Sydney building manager from New Zealand carved out a living area underneath his apartment complex and used the space to store stolen goods and set up a cannabis crop, Australian police have alleged.
Building manager Jaden Hati, 42, was arrested on August 18, weeks after police found an elaborate "Aladdin's cave" in a storage area in the basement of the apartment complex in Pyrmont, the Daily Mail reported.
Shelving systems stored more than 250 items allegedly stolen from other storage units, including electrical items as well as sports and garden equipment, police said.
The secret living quarters had a rainwater tank that had been converted into a bedroom and another tank that was being set up to grow hydroponic cannabis.
The items were allegedly stolen from residents of the building he managed, as well as elsewhere.
Hati was employed by property firm BGIS to manage four of Jacksons Landing buildings - Knox on Bowman, Silk, Stonecutters and Sugar Dock in Sydney.
'Aladdin's cave' uncovered
In the early hours of the morning on August 18, a police pursuit by Sydney officers began when Hati drove off from officers in Penrith.
When Hati was eventually found at a nearby pub his car was searched and police found methamphetamine, cannabis, drug paraphernalia and stolen number plates, they allege.
The investigation turned to the apartment complex where Hati was building manager.
Investigators were alerted to the unlikely sound of a washing machine and tumble dryer on the sixth floor of an underground carpark in the building.
The noise was coming from behind a door to a room that only Hati knew was there.
Inside police found an elaborate living space between skinny passageways and repurposed rainwater tanks.
Police described the find as an "Aladdin's cave".
Police images show the space had a kitchenette, bathroom, bedroom and compact laundry.
The walls were covered with flat-screen television monitors amid shelves packed with allegedly stolen goods.
Police later discovered monitors inside the cramped living space connected to CCTV cameras around the residential development.
Golf clubs, power tools, clothing, poker chips and a range of other sporting equipment were some of the items found in the space.
He then allegedly sold the items on online sites.
Police are investigating whether Hati acted alone or had accomplices who stole the items.
Hati remains in police custody and will face court in November.