• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Nearly 600 stolen cars recovered at port of Montreal, valued at $34.5m

Nearly 600 stolen cars recovered at port of Montreal, valued at $34.5m

Canadian authorities revealed they prevented the export of almost 600 stolen vehicles overseas by inspecting 390 shipping containers at the Port of Montreal.

Over 480 vehicles stolen from Ontario in the last three months were recovered at the port, along with an additional 115 stolen from Quebec, as part of Project Vector, conducted by police and the Canada Border Services Agency.

The Ontario Provincial Police and Canada Border Services Agency reported that approximately three-quarters of the 598 confiscated vehicles, valued at an estimated CAD 34.5m (US$25.5m ), were stolen from the neighboring province of Ontario.

A surge in auto thefts in Canada’s largest city Toronto has frustrated many residents.

Marty Kearns, Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner informed reporters in Montreal that investigations conducted by Ontario police led them to believe that a significant portion of stolen vehicles in that province “were destined for illegal export via the Port of Montreal.” As a result, he said, police and federal agencies in Quebec and Ontario launched Project Vector.

“As our intelligence indicated, the vast majority of recovered stolen vehicles, more than 430, were taken from the Greater Toronto Area,” Kearns said.

The thieves focus on relatively new vehicles, particularly high-end pickup trucks and SUVs, which are subsequently exported to markets across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South America, Kearns explained.

No arrests was made as part of the three-and-a-half-month operation.

Kearns highlighted that the operation has deprived organized crime of millions of dollars and conveyed a clear message. “that we are here, we are active.”

“We’re not done … we anticipate arrests and charges in the near future.”

Kearns said Project Vector is the latest in police operations targeting vehicle thefts.

Kearns said some of the recovered vehicles have been involved in other crimes.

“For example, one of the recovered vehicles was linked to a carjacking involving a handgun, another vehicle was stolen from a driveway and then used for a residential break-in just hours later. In another instance, thieves invaded a home during the early morning, confronted the homeowners and made off with two vehicles,” he said.

The announcement follows Burlington, Vt., police issuing a warning to drivers returning from Montreal to inspect their vehicles for concealed GPS tracking devices.

Police report an average of one vehicle stolen every five minutes in Canada, with over 12,000 stolen annually in Toronto.