With Apple Airtags a Toronto man tracks stolen vehicle to Mississauga and gets it back
Published February 9, 2023 at 5:47 pm
A Toronto man is speaking out after he tracked his stolen truck from Etobicoke to Mississauga.
Toronto resident Alan Regnier tells insauga.com he was relaxing at home on Jan. 4 when he decided to check his oil levels on his Ford F-150 truck from an app on his phone. He realized the truck was no longer outside.
“And all of a sudden adrenaline took over,” he says. “I rushed outside and noticed it was gone.”
Previously he had noticed more and more vehicle thefts reported in community Facebook groups in south Etobicoke so Regnier put Apple tags in his truck.
When he saw his truck was gone from the street, he jumped into another vehicle at his home and tracked his truck with the tags and the GPS that the thief wasn’t able to disable yet.
He called Toronto police who told him not to follow the truck but Regnier says he had no intention of confronting the thief or thieves.
“I knew where it was, I could see it on my air tags and if anyone can get there, it would be me quicker than the police,” he says. “Because I have the live feed, they don’t have the live feed.”
He worried that if he waited too long, the truck would be lost.
“I knew it was a matter of time.”
Apple Airtags can help track stolen or lost items. Photo by Onur Binay
About 15 minutes later, he tracked the truck to a large parking lot for a Canada Post sorting facility at Eglinton Avenue and Dixie Road in Mississauga.
At that point, he called Peel police.
“I was never going to confront the people that were stealing it. I was more hoping to gather information, which I did.”
Peel Regional Police confirmed they went to the Eglinton Avenue and Dixie Road area in Mississauga on Jan. 4, at 9:30 p.m. for a report of a recovered stolen truck.
Regnier says police circled the lot, which had more than 100 vehicles and at first couldn’t locate the truck.
“It is a very large parking lot,” a spokesperson for Peel Regional Police tells insauga.com.
They did eventually find the truck with help of Regnier who was watching from a safe distance.
The truck was damaged but operational. The thief disabled the horn and tried to disable the GPS. Items were missing including a dash camera and laptops linked to his business.
Regnier decided against having it taken in for evidence gathering as it rarely turns up any clues as thieves tend to wear gloves.
While he was waiting for police Regnier noticed people moving vehicles around. But he says many people were likely Canada Post staff members.
“Needless to say, I saw a lot of Ford F-150s.”
The OPP says newer model pickup trucks and SUVs are the most commonly stolen vehicles.
The OPP are warning owners of newer model pick-up trucks and SUV's that these vehicles are being targeted by groups of organized criminals in thefts across the province.
Here are some tips on how to better protect your vehicle and potentially deter criminals:
— OPP Central Region (@OPP_CR) February 3, 2023
Regnier says he is speaking out now, more than a month later, because he continues to see vehicle theft.
“I guess didn’t really want to publicize it. But with the amount of vehicles that I was hearing just getting stolen after mine, I just had enough of it.”
Many communities across Ontario have seen an increase in vehicle theft. Car thefts are up 30 per cent in Mississauga and Brampton.
Regnier runs an IT managed services company and with that background he can’t help but think of ways to prevent this type of theft. In his research, he found it is easy to break into F-150s but there is a part a U.S. company has created to help fix that problem.
“I am also looking into helping out the dealerships,” he says.
He suggests it may be possible to have vehicle owners create a key code to prevent unauthorized programming of the ignition key.
“I just want to get it all out there and hopefully deter these thieves from trying.”
Once a vehicle is stolen it can be shipped out of the country very quickly. A “tidal wave” of stolen cars from Ontario are being shipped overseas and openly sold at used car lots.
As for Regnier’s case, no one has been caught and there is no suspect information, police say.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising