10 February 2024

'There's no money, catch him': 12,000 vapes stolen by group who paid in paper

| Albert McKnight

Amro Aseeri (left) and Majad Khan Khan (right) leave court after their sentencing. Photos: Albert McKnight.

“There’s no money, catch him!”

This is what the friend of a vape seller cried out when he realised the 12,000 IGET e-cigarettes his mate had just sold for over $63,000 were about to be stolen, because what the buyers had purported to be cash was nothing but wads of paper in envelopes.

Amro Aseeri, 25, and Majad Khan Khan, 24, were sentenced by the ACT Supreme Court for their roles in what Justice David Mossop called a “thoroughly dishonest scheme”.

He said the group’s crime involved “ripping off” a supplier of e-cigarettes by claiming they would pay in cash, which was actually paper, then absconding with the goods.

The judge said the group had made contact with the victim after he listed his e-cigarettes for sale on Facebook Marketplace and they agreed to met up in a carpark outside an apartment complex in Bruce on 15 May 2021.

The victim and his friend met up with Khan and a co-offender who loaded boxes of the vapes into their car, then once they’d loaded them all, the co-offender said: “My Dad is waiting for you, you need to deliver to him. I’ll get the money”.

READ ALSO Climate change activists found guilty after obstructing oil group’s building

Khan drove off while the co-offender gave a brown paper bag to the victim’s friend, who saw it was filled with several envelopes. When he opened one, he saw it contained paper and cried out to stop the co-offender, who started running away.

The victim gave chase while the co-offender ran to a nearby car that contained Aseeri, got inside and they were driven away by another member of their crew called Albion Osmani.

The stolen vapes were never recovered.

The Saudi Arabian-born Aseeri and the Pakistan-born Khan both pleaded guilty to and were convicted of joint commission charges of dishonestly obtaining property by deception.

Aseeri went to the University of Canberra and now works as a dental manager.

Justice Mossop said after the theft, Aseeri reported that he felt betrayed and hurt by his accomplices. But the judge also said he had given no explanation for his involvement and it was not possible to say if he was truly remorseful.

READ ALSO Drug-using driver crashed into pedestrian, throwing him three metres

Khan, who is now a plumbing apprentice and lives in Sydney, claimed he had been “dragged into it by someone he considered a friend”, but had also given nothing to explain his offending, Justice Mossop said.

However, both had been assessed as unlikely to reoffend.

Aseeri and Khan were both sentenced to 21 months and 15 days’ jail, fully suspended for two-year good behaviour orders.

The former must complete 100 hours of community service, while the latter was fined $6000.

Osmani also pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining property by deception by joint commission. In May 2023, the then-25-year-old, who Justice Mossop said “played a subordinate role”, was sentenced to 12 months’ jail, fully suspended for a two-year good behaviour order. He was also told to complete 150 hours of community service.

The co-offender, who is not named as the spelling of his name was unclear, was sentenced to 21 months and two weeks’ imprisonment to be served by way of an intensive corrections order, which is a community-based sentence.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.