Friday, September 29, 2023

From theft to the four corners of the world, here is the journey of stolen vehicles in Canada

Car thefts are increasing in Canada. In Toronto alone, there were approximately 9,500 in 2022, according to the Toronto Police Service. In Quebec, the increase in the number of thefts is 50% in the same year, according to the Association Équité, a young organization that fights against vehicle theft and defends users.

More and more networks are entering this segment because it is very profitable and low risk.explains Brian Gast, former OPP investigator and vice president of investigative services at Association Équité.

Increase in vehicle thefts in 2022

Quebec fifty %
ontario 48.3%
Atlantic 34.5%
alberta 18.3%

Source: Equity Association

From first contact to resale on another continent, Radio-Canada tracks the most common stages of a stolen vehicle.

Step 1: A street or public parking lot

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Recent vehicles are detected in public parking lots.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Illustration: Camile Gauthier

The first stage takes place in a public place. Thieves detect recent models that interest them, for example, in shopping center parking lots. In most cases these are SUVs or trucks such as Honda CR-V, Lexus RX Series, Toyota Highlander or Ford F150 Series. Once a vehicle of interest is detected, thieves install a tracker on it to track it.

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Step 2: A home or a private parking lot

Cars Parked On A Residential Street.

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Thieves usually act at night, when the streets are quiet.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Illustration: Camile Gauthier

Thieves usually act at night, when vehicles are not well controlled, either in front of a house or on a residential street. The flight can take a few secondsYork Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween recalled at a news conference in late 2022.

Thieves intercept the signal from the owner’s electronic key, which is located in the house, by placing themselves near the door, opening the vehicle doors and starting it.

Step 3: An unknown and discreet place

Parked Cars.

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Stolen vehicles usually remain parked for a few days.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Illustration: Camile Gauthier

Thieves usually leave the vehicle parked for two or three days on the street. Sometimes they will inspect it, particularly to remove traces of the owner, or they will simply wait to see if the vehicle recovers quickly. Nothing links them to the vehicle.the soul of Brian Gast.

Step 4: a charging station

Stacked Containers, Seen From The Sky.

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Stolen vehicles are transported in containers.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Illustration: Camile Gauthier

If the vehicle has not been moved, it is shipped to ports in Eastern Canada. It is loaded into a container and then typically transported by truck to one of the loading stations.

In Toronto, it’s either the Canadian Pacific freight station in Agincourt or the smaller Vaughan Intermodal Station in the northwest, where vehicles were also recently found.

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The thieves act with the help of an accomplice company that will tell them that they are different goods destined for export. Railway companies don’t really know what’s in the containers they transportsays Brian Gast.

Step 5: The Port of Montreal (and sometimes Halifax)

Containers Loaded At A Port.

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Containers are loaded onto ships, usually without being inspected first.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Illustration: Camile Gauthier

Trains arrive directly at the Port of Montreal, where containers are loaded onto ships. A small number of vehicles continue east to Halifax Harbour.

Since vehicles don’t leave containers, ports could be ideal checkpoints for the Canada Border Services Agency, but stolen vehicles are left buried in the mass. These are just a few containers among thousands.says Brian Gast.

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Step 6: Departure in containers across the Atlantic

A Ship Full Of Containers At Sea.

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Cars are transported to other continents.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Illustration: Camile Gauthier

Once stolen vehicles are shipped overseas, they are much more difficult to recover, although several international investigations have been successful in recent years.

Among the countries where Canadian vehicles have been intercepted are Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Belgium, Morocco, Malta, Italy and the United Arab Emirates.

These networks must be highly organized, because people are needed to fly, transport and then recover the vehicles on another continent to resell them directly or to other groups.

On the other hand, South America, Asia or Oceania are not among these destinations.

We are starting to see vehicles from the West being shipped to ports in the East.for Brian Gast.

For the researcher, this reveals that the networks favor ports accessible by the Atlantic where their markets are most developed. These sales can then finance other activities such as terrorism.He cares.

Times of National
Times of National
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