August 30, 2007 by Canadian Underwriter
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) teamed up with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and several regional police forces to uncover a substantial auto theft ring in the Toronto area, recovering more than Cdn$1.5 million worth of stolen vehicles.
The joint-force, called PATT (Provincial Auto Theft Team), consists of the IBC, OPP, Peel Regional Police Service, Toronto Police Service and York Regional Police.
In its recent investigation, dubbed Project X5, PATT charged 19 individuals with more than 130 Criminal Code theft and fraud related charges, an OPP release says.
Project X5 involved an undercover police officer posing as a purchaser and exporter of stolen high-end vehicles and stolen cargo loads.
Police infiltrated the criminal rings by posing as illicit receivers of stolen goods, purchasing stolen property and gathering evidence against the individuals.
The 14 vehicles recovered were primarily luxury SUVs. Eleven marine vessels were also recovered, the release notes.
Boomerang Tracking Inc., a Montreal-based auto tracking company, is questioning the effectiveness of a recent federal decision requiring immobilizers in all new-built cars, and is instead advocating a four-layer approach to prevent vehicle theft.
A company statement notes a recent federal government decision to require immobilizers to be standard equipment in all new vehicles in September as a step forward, but would like to see an approach similar to that advocated by the U.S.s National Insurance Crime Bureau that involves the installation of vehicle tracking devices.
A Boomerang analysis from 2003-2007 showed 36% of stolen vehicles Boomerang recovered had Insurance Bureau of Canada-approved immobilizer devices, a company statement says.
In many cases, cars are simply towed or lifted onto flatbed trucks by well-organized vehicle theft rings, Craig Armstrong, Boomerangs general manager, said in a statement.
In other cases vehicles are stolen after home break-ins or by carjackings using the owners keys.
This mandatory immobilizer law will benefit new vehicles however older cars, frequently stolen for parts and over-seas shipment, require attention and effective consumer protection options.