The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) announced that a collaboration with joint police forces has led to the thwarting of a major international car theft ring.
Investigators working for the IBC in Ontario, Montreal, and Halifax, in partnership with law enforcement units within those regions, were able to recover numerous stolen vehicles that were bound for West Africa and return them to the owners. The IBC collaborated with RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) during the operation.
“Today, after months of investigative work, police have announced the arrest of close to 20 individuals allegedly associated with the theft of 211 high-end vehicles,” IBC said in a press release. “The vehicles, with an estimated value of $11 million, are alleged to have been stolen throughout the Greater Toronto Area.”
Other law enforcement agencies that were instrumental in the arrests included the Toronto Police Service and the York, Halton and Peel police services, along with the RCMP, CBSA and CN Rail police, said Rick Dubin, vice president, investigative services, IBC.
The sting was also an international operation as the IBC worked with CBSA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators, as well as customs authorities in Spain and Belgium. The teams managed to stop container ships with high end vehicles from entering lucrative foreign black markets and see them returned to Canada. The IBC has been conducting such operations for some time and has been hugely successful, seizing over $60 million worth of stolen vehicles since 2008.
“The enormous profits in auto theft attract organized crime,” Dubin said in the release. “Investigations leading to arrests, such as these significantly interfere with these criminal operations. IBC is committed to supporting our law enforcement agencies in their fight against auto theft, and other insurance crimes so that honest policyholders aren’t the ones affected.”
This month it was revealed that vehicle theft rose to a decade high in Canada and 20 per cent of high end vehicles that are stolen are taken because the owner leaves the keys in the car.