Jean-Marc Filiatrault is part of the minority of owners of stolen cars in Quebec who manage to recover their vehicle, but he sometimes wonders if he was really lucky in his bad luck.
On the morning of November 29, 2022, a thief easily took his car without even bothering to hide his face.
“You really have to be brazen in your sacrifice to come and steal a car with your face exposed just under a lamppost,” exclaims the jovial retiree from Sainte-Dorothée.
Its surveillance cameras film the thief and his accomplice, who park about 150 meters (500 feet) from Mr. Filiatrault’s vehicle, a 2021 Acura RDX. It is then 3:45 a.m.
In the video footage, the young man approaches the vehicle as if nothing had happened. “Not even masked!” A real joke! », recalls Jean-Marc Filiatrault.
He appears to be holding something in his hands. He bends down to grab a geolocation system. It was not the one installed by Mr. Filiatrault. “He had to put it in beforehand to come and steal our vehicle at his convenience. »
The thief enters the vehicle, breaks the cylinder, thus disarming the alarm system. “He had to know the Acura model to know how to do it,” adds Mr. Filiatrault.
Simple flight, difficult recovery
If stealing a car seems like child’s play, recovering one is much more difficult: barely a third of vehicles stolen in Quebec are found, which is significantly less than in other provinces. This poor performance is essentially due to the fact that cars end up more quickly in a container at the Port of Montreal.
While the national vehicle recovery rate is 57%, Quebec finds itself last, with 34% of stolen cars eventually being located. In Ontario, this rate is 45%. Although car theft is present across Canada, the vehicle recovery rate is significantly better in the Atlantic provinces (68%) and Alberta (80%).
This alarming reality, exposed in a report published last year by Équité, an association financed by the main Canadian insurers, is essentially due to the fact that cars end up more quickly in a container at the port of Montreal.
Faced with the increase in car thefts in the country, Justin Trudeau’s government has also announced the holding of a national summit to fight against this scourge, which will take place in Ottawa on February 8.
Mr. Filiatrault was one of the “lucky ones” whose car was intercepted before being sent abroad. The young criminal, possibly an amateur, was mistaken. He wanted to cut the wires to deactivate the Acura Link system, installed by the car’s owner to geolocate it. Instead, he cut the radio wires.
Nevertheless, on the side of the police, there was “total apathy”, describes Mr. Filiatrault. “We are overwhelmed, we don’t have time,” the police officer told him. The latter is very clear: no chance that he will pick up his car at the port if it is there.
He and Mr. Filiatrault’s wife are discouraged. As his own tracking system has not been deactivated, Jean-Marc Filiatrault falls back on this. He pays a little more than $200 to have access to customer service available 24/7, only in the United States.
Bingo! The vehicle is located… in an industrial park in the borough of Saint-Laurent.
Recovering your car…at great expense
An officer from the Laval Police Service (SPL) went to the location indicated by the GPS, but the car was not recovered immediately. Instead, it was left at the pound by a towing company, where it remained for a few days. This impromptu stay incurs costs of $2,100. “It was going around in circles, they never had time to bring the car back. That’s when I said to myself: everyone makes money from car thefts! »
I would have been better off sitting at home, waiting for the insurer’s check to buy a new tank.
The car was slightly damaged following transport in the container. The couple spent $6,000 on repairs and security upgrades.
We had to fight with the insurer to avoid seeing the premium increase by $200, Mr. Filiatrault is indignant. “It’s the consumers who suffer and the others who get richer!” »
The Laval resident is surprised by the inaction of the various levels of government. The national summit to combat vehicle theft is arriving late, according to Mr. Filiatrault. ” There’s nothing new. »
Criminals, according to him, know the law and know that the penalties are minimal. “We are fighting against too many things. »