York Regional Police (YRP) say they have recovered 25 stolen vehicles valued at more than $2 million and charged six people after busting a GTA car theft operation.
The investigation started in November when the Auto Cargo Theft Unit became aware of a parking lot in Mississauga where stolen vehicles were parked.
“Through investigation, suspects were identified and other locations were discovered where stolen vehicles were being taken and stored,” police said in a news release Friday.
Officers executed a search warrant at a warehouse in Mississauga on Dec. 14 where they found stolen vehicles inside shipping containers. Police said the vehicles had been reported stolen from around the GTA. They also seized stolen license plates, master car keys and a key re-programming device.
Five suspects were also arrested during the execution of the search warrant.
Police said 31-year-old Samuel Owusu-Hammond of Toronto, 42-year-old Michael Arthur Clark of Oakville, 31-year-old Kiryl Andrushkevich of Toronto, 25-year-old Laye Mamadee Kromah of Hamilton and 25-year-old Ala’a Ghazal of Mississauga are all facing a list of charges. They include possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and trafficking in property obtained by crime over $5,000.
Police said a sixth suspect identified in the investigation, 52-year-old Alex Kabia of Toronto, was taken into custody by CBSA officers at Toronto Pearson International Airport on the strength of an arrest warrant. He is facing similar charges.
Three of the six men were on bail for unrelated matters at the time of their arrest, police said.
“Our investigators are working diligently to tackle organized auto theft,” YRP Chief Jim MacSween said in a statement. “In conjunction with utilizing a data-driven approach and making use of specialized tools and resources, our dedicated teams work closely with our law enforcement partners to optimize our results.”
Auto thefts have been a growing concern throughout the GTA, and the provincial government recently announced grants for police forces to bolster their efforts to combat the crime.
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