Arrest made in Hamilton as part of joint auto theft investigation

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Published January 20, 2023 at 5:42 pm

The police in Hamilton say they are increasing patrols “in identified target areas” as local detectives lead a multi-jurisdiction auto theft investigation.

Hamilton Police (HPS) stated on Friday afternoon that one man has been arrested as officers investigate a string of incidents involving thefts from vehicles, vehicle entries, and theft of vehicles. Most have occurred late at night while there are few members of the public out.

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“This crime trend is not isolated to the Hamilton area and is occurring in neighboring jurisdictions,” HPS said. “As a result, our Auto Theft detectives are leading an ongoing joint investigation.

A 29-year-old man was arrested this week after was observed entering vehicles shortly after 11 p.m. in the downtown area, police added. The accused is facing three criminal counts: motor vehicle theft; breaking and entering, and unlawful possession over $5,000. The accused, who was not named in the HPS media release, will make his first court appearance to answer to the charges on Feb. 28.

The police also outlined preventative measures that Hamilton residents can take to reduce the risk of theft. They also provided an explainer video.

Steps that one can take when parking your vehicle include:

  • Turn the ignition off and take the keys with you
  • Park in a well-lighted, attended area if possible
  • Lock all valuables in your trunk
  • Completely close and lock doors and windows
  • Turn your wheels to the side to make it harder to tow

When parking at a private home:

  • If you have a garage, use it and lock it
  • If a garage is not an option, a steering wheel locking device is an effective deterrent.
  • If you have a rear-wheel drive car, back into driveway
  • If you have a front-wheel drive car, park front end first
  • Always set the emergency brake
  • Don’t leave the ownership or insurance cards in the vehicle when unattended
  • Drop business cards or address labels inside doors to assist with vehicle identification

The police’s release on Friday also offered a list of reasons for why vehicles are stolen.

  • To sell the vehicle or parts: “Often thieves will take your car out of the Province or Country. Identification numbers may be altered or removed, ownership certificates forged, parts sold or the vehicle repainted.”
  • For transportation: “Thieves will use your vehicle to get where they want to go and later abandon the vehicle. They may just drive it around to gain ‘status’ with their friends.”
  • To commit other crimes: “Vehicles are stolen and used in other crimes such as robberies, break and enters, drug dealing.”
  • For vehicle cloning: Vehicles are stolen, given a fraudulent identification number, and sold to unsuspecting persons. Those vehicles can be seized by police as stolen property.
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