Police in York Region have reportedly recovered nearly 90 stolen vehicles in connection to an ongoing investigation.
The recent initiative, dubbed Project Crockpot began in June 2021, police say.
“Officers identified nine suspects believed to be involved in thefts of vehicles, which were being shipped overseas and sold,” reads a media release.
“During the investigation officers executed search warrants at several locations in the City of Toronto and were able to successfully recover 88 stolen vehicles valued at more than $5 million dollars.”
A quantity of electronic re-progammers, which are used to steal vehicles, and $300,000 in cash were also seized, police noted.
“Nine people were arrested including three people who were arrested in Quebec and 53 charges have been laid,” the media release reads.
“Recently, thieves have been using tools like screwdrivers to gain access to vehicles through the driver or passenger door, while ensuring not to set off alarms. Once inside, an electronic device, typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting, is connected to a port below the dashboard and programs the vehicle to accept a key the thieves have brought with them. Once the new key is programmed, the vehicle will start and the thieves drive it away.”
Police offered the following safety tips to help prevent their vehicles from being stolen:
- If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage, as the majority of the vehicles have been stolen from driveways
- Use a steering wheel lock. It will also act as a visible deterrent
- Install a lock on the data port. This simple device can be purchased online and blocks access to the computer port where the thieves gain access to reprogram the vehicle’s keys
- Consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system. Ensure cameras are properly placed and functioning for day and night time use. Familiarize yourself with the system so it can be reviewed and accessed immediately.