More than 200 stolen vehicles worth over $ 11 million have been recovered as part of an investigation into a “prolific auto-theft ring,” police say.
Peel Regional Police said “Project High 5” was a six-month multi-jurisdictional investigation launched after an increase in vehicle thefts within the Peel Region and the Greater Toronto Area as a whole.
The investigation involved officers from several GTA police services, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Canada Border Services Agency, Montreal police, Halifax police, the Equite Association, and ports of Montreal and Halifax.
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“It is alleged that suspects forced open the driver’s door and obtained access to the vehicle’s on board diagnostic port,” Peel police said in a statement.
“Once this was achieved, they utilized key programming devices to program a new aftermarket key fob. These were not the result of relay thefts and were captured by victims and neighboring residences on home security. ”
The most targeted vehicles were Toyota Highlanders, Honda CRVs, Ford F150s, Range Rovers, and Lexus SUVs – which police said were identified by the Equite Association as the most commonly stolen cars.
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Police said the thefts occurred in residential neighborhoods while owners slept.
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Twenty-four people have been charged in connection with the investigation and a total of 321 charges have been laid, police said.
There were allegedly 217 vehicles recovered, valued at $ 11.1 million.
A firearm, more than $ 100,000 in cash, drugs, forged vehicle documents, and fraudulent government documents were also seized, police said.
Police said more arrests are anticipated, but said the group has been dismantled.
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