Months-long investigation in Hamilton, Niagara leads to three arrests, seizure of 20 stolen cars

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Published July 16, 2021 at 11:43 am

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Three men are facing more than 80 charges following a two-month-long investigation into a car theft and chop shop ring operating in Hamilton and Niagara.

The investigation, dubbed Project El Dorado, was launched in May. Hamilton Police conducted the project in partnership with the Niagara Regional Police Service and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Investigators executed six search warrants at five locations in Hamilton and the Niagara Region and seized 20 stolen vehicles, car parts, a firearm and a number of other suspected stolen items, police said in a press release issued Friday (July 16).

Three men, two from Hamilton and one from Niagara, were arrested as a result of the project, which wrapped up last week.

Hamilton Police have charged:

Ryan Strong
37 Years-of-age
Hamilton
Break and Enter – Commit x 9
Theft Under $5000 x 2
Mischief Under $5000 x 5
Possession Under $5000 x 4
Disguise with Intent x 14

Robert Sheppard
30 Years-of-age
Hamilton
Break and Enter – Commit x 8
Theft Under $5000 x 2
Mischief Under $5000 x 5
Possession Under $5000 x 5
Disguise with Intent x 13

Andrew Wayne
34 Years-of-age
Niagara
Unauthorized Possession Of a Firearm
Careless Storage of a Firearm
Possession Contrary to Order x 3
Possession Over $5000 x 5
Possession Under $5000 x 6

All three men were released on their own recognizance and their first court appearance is scheduled for August 12, 2021.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates auto thefts cost Canadians close to $1 billion yearly, including $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen vehicles, $250 million in police, health-care and court system costs and millions more for correctional services.

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sean Woodard by calling 905-546-3820 or Detective Sergeant Andrea Torrie at 905-546-2991.

To provide information anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit anonymous tips online.

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