A casino high roller, who despite being unemployed for at least a decade spent millions of dollars at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria, is being accused by authorities of leading a double life as a sophisticated cat burglar.
Investigators allege that 53-year-old Chinese national Di Miao targeted the homes of rich foreigners and stealthily executed burglaries in some Melbourne’s wealthiest suburbs over a ten-year period. The 18-month investigation led by Detective Senior Sergeant Nathan Kaeser culminated in a search of Di Miao’s home in early 2015. Thousands of luxury items were allegedly uncovered by Monash Crime Investigation Unit at Miao’s sprawling Doncaster house.
Items seized include designer handbags, watches, valued at approximately $50,000 each, jewelry and rare and imported alcoholic drinks worth $2000 a bottle. Miao was later charged with more than a dozen burglaries committed in Balwyn Toorak, Glem Waverly, Wheelers Hill and Kew. Efforts are being made by detectives to locate the owners of approximately 500 unclaimed items that are estimated to be worth millions. Miao has not pleaded to any of the charges, according to The Age. It is understood that Miao arrived in Australia about 12 years ago. Other high rollers, also of Chinese heritage, are believed to be his alleged victims.
In an attempt to locate the origins and final destinations of the goods believed linked to Miao, the case has taken detectives all over the world. Investigators have received assistance from police in Asia and Europe. Senior Sergeant Kaeser said, “Police will allege that he’s also put a significant amount of money through the casino over the past five years, approximately $2.2 million a year.” Kaeser added, “At the time of executing the search warrant we recovered a huge amount of property [of] which I would suggest about a third we’ve located owners for and returned the property, the rest we’re still working through.”
Over the weekend, an open day is being held at the Oakleigh Police Station so that the 500 or so items that have yet to be matched to the owners can be inspected and identified by possible victims. Friday morning after putting the call out for owners, the station was inundated with phone calls by the hundreds from Victoria and interstate.
On February 11, Miao is expected to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court for a committal mention.