$1.2 million in stolen vehicles recovered as cops bust alleged car theft and fraud ring in Mississauga and Brampton


Published November 29, 2023 at 10:48 am

Peel Regional Police bust car theft ring in Mississauga and GTA Nov. 29, 2023
Peel Regional Police Acting Det.-Sgt. Simon Kennedy reveals details of an auto theft investigation at a news conference Wednesday morning.

A dozen people have been arrested and nine stolen vehicles worth $1.2 million recovered after Peel cops say they busted an auto theft and insurance fraud ring in which vehicles were taken from people’s driveways and dealerships in Mississauga, Brampton and elsewhere before being sold to buyers who were also part of the alleged crime group.

Those now facing a total of 81 charges that include trafficking in stolen goods, fraud over $5,000, forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud are from Mississauga (nine people), Brampton, Hamilton and Toronto and range in age from 23 to 36, with most in their 20s.

In addition, Peel Regional Police investigators said during a news conference this morning at police headquarters in Mississauga, the majority of those charged worked in the auto and auto finance industry.

Such a connection to the industry would allow those involved, police say, to more easily carry out the alleged thefts, re-vinning of stolen vehicles — including Dodge Ram pickup trucks, BMWs, Ranger Rovers, a Porsche, a Jeep Wrangler and a Bentley — and subsequent re-sales and insurance frauds.

“The way in which these vehicles were trafficked was complex and would involve insider knowledge to circumvent certain systems that are in place to prevent this from happening,” police said.

Police say the “comprehensive” investigation, dubbed Project Memphis, began in March of this year with a tip from someone in the community.

The sweeping probe “identified a group of individuals that was operating within the GTA and was responsible for sourcing re-vinned stolen vehicles, fraudulently re-registering them (with the transportation ministry) and then proceeding to traffic those vehicles throughout southwestern Ontario (via multiple car dealerships),” Peel police Acting Det.-Sgt. Simon Kennedy, with the 11 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau, said at the news conference.

Kennedy added it was determined that those involved “used their pre-existing knowledge in the automotive and finance industry to complete these fraudulent transactions.”

Police said the re-vinned vehicles were trafficked to buyers “who were paid to fraudulently buy the vehicles. In some cases, the buyers attempted to submit fraudulent insurance claims by reporting the vehicles stolen.”

Kennedy told reporters that the investigation has also prevented more than $350,000 in insurance fraud.

The 12 people charged will appear in Brampton court at a later date, police said.

Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah, also in attendance Wednesday morning, noted that “auto crime is still one of the most profound issues facing the community in Peel and nationally” and that it impacts residents’ feelings of safety “and their pocketbooks.”

Peel police Acting Det.-Sgt. Simon Kennedy speaks at Wednesday morning’s news conference, flanked by Peel’s police chief.

Duraiappah has publicly stated on numerous occasions this year that car thefts are dramatically increasing, particularly in Mississauga and Brampton where the per capita rate is the highest in the country.

“To say auto theft is an epidemic across Canada and Ontario would be an understatement,” Duraiappah said in March of this year in the wake of a major bust in which police recovered dozens of Range Rovers and other luxury vehicles worth more than $10 million that were stolen from homes in Mississauga and Brampton and destined for the Middle East.

In an ongoing effort to battle the crime problem, Peel Regional Police will host the 51st annual Vehicle Crimes Conference, taking place May 6-9, 2024 at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

The four-day event is a gathering of international law enforcement officials and others who’ll come together to discuss ways to reduce car thefts and related crimes.

The conference is being staged by Peel cops in collaboration with the U.S.-based Northeast Regional Chapter of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.

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