Four stolen vehicles worth about $200,000 that were shipped to Dubai have been recovered, Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) says.
The vehicles are part of HRPS’ investigation launched last year looking into stolen automobiles being sent to Dubai. Police later announced they intercepted 24 vehicles valued at $2.1 million while in transit through Morocco.
However, authorities were unable to stop two shipping containers containing four other vehicles before reaching Dubai.
“Through on-going collaboration between Canadian authorities and law enforcement in Dubai, the two containers were eventually rerouted back to Canada,” HRPS said in a news release on Wednesday.
As a result, this past January, HRPS investigators took custody of the shipping container and the four vehicles: two Ford-150s, a Lexus SUV and a Range Rover.
HRPS said the vehicles were stolen from Toronto, Halton and Peel regions. No arrests have been announced in connection with the investigation into the thefts.
“These vehicles are primarily ‘reprogrammed’ thefts wherein the suspects enter the vehicle and reprogram the ignition computers, which allow them to be driven away using a new key,” HRPS said in a March 24, 2023, news release.
They added that the vehicles are either driven to the Port of Montreal or loaded into a shipping container in Toronto and transported to Montreal by rail.
On Wednesday, the Ontario government asked the federal government for more inspections and agents at Ontario ports ahead of a national summit on auto theft this week.
“Stolen vehicles are slipping through them at an alarming rate,” Michael Kerzner, Ontario’s solicitor general, wrote in a letter to Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc.
“That is why we are asking for your government to invest in increasing outbound inspections at ports and rail yards. This is especially crucial at the Port of Montreal and the various rail yards in Ontario.”
Kerzner noted in the letter that auto theft has become a crisis, and all levels of government must work together to end it.
With files from Katherine DeClerq