York Regional Police have recovered 88 vehicles valued at more than $5 million in a months-long investigation.
The force's auto/cargo theft unit has been working on Project Crockpot since last June to combat the thefts of vehicles — which were then sold overseas —from across York Region, according to a news release.
Officers executed search warrants at several locations in Toronto and found 88 stolen vehicles, as well as a number of electronic re-progammers used to steal vehicles and $300,000 cash.
Nine people have been arrested and 53 charges laid.
According to police, thieves have been using screwdrivers to break into vehicles on either the driver or passenger side door without setting off the alarm. Once inside, they use electronic re-programmers so that the vehicle accepts a new key.
YRP is sharing tips to protect your vehicle from being stolen.
- park in a locked garage if possible since most thefts happen from driveways;
- use a steering wheel lock, which will also be a visual deterrent, and a lock on the data port to prevent thieves from connecting are-programmer;
- invest in a security camera system and ensure the cameras are properly placed and that you know how to quickly access and review the footage if needed.
The investigation is ongoing and YRP has partnered with Canada Border Services Agency, Équité Association, Malta Police Force, Malta Department of Customs and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police International Police Operations.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the York Regional Police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6651, or you can leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or online at www.1800222tips.com.