Investigators with the York Regional Police Auto/Cargo Theft Unit, working with our valued partnering agencies, have laid multiple charges against organized vehicle theft groups and have recovered more than 200 stolen vehicles worth $17 million in an ongoing vehicle theft investigation dubbed Project Touchdown.
Over the past several years, York Regional Police and partner agencies have seen an increase in thefts of vehicles and we have increased efforts to combat this issue.
Project Touchdown is a joint-forces investigation involving Peel Regional Police, the Durham Regional Police Service, the Halton Regional Police Service, the Canada Border Services Agency and Équité Association, with assistance from the CP and CN Police. Funding provided by the Government of Ontario, Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, supported the joint investigation.
During this six-month project, officers intercepted and recovered 215 vehicles valued at approximately $17.4 million which were being trafficked to international destinations. Fifty-one people have been arrested and more than 150 charges have been laid.
The suspects involved in this project were not only involved in stealing and trafficking vehicles. Officers also seized firearms, including 15 handguns, one assault-style rifle, magazines and ammunition as well as quantities of drugs including fentanyl, MDMA, cocaine and Oxycodone.
A video of a recent vehicle theft can be found here: https://youtube.com/shorts/zuspglkNSUk
Vehicle owners are encouraged to follow these safety tips to help prevent their vehicles from being stolen:
- If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage, as the majority of the vehicles have been stolen from driveways
- Use a steering wheel lock. It will also act as a visible deterrent
- Install a lock on the data port. This simple device can be purchased online and blocks access to the computer port where the thieves gain access to reprogram the vehicle’s keys
- Consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system. Ensure cameras are properly placed and functioning for day and night use. Familiarize yourself with the system so it can be reviewed and accessed immediately
For more information contact the York Regional Police Auto/Cargo Theft Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6651, or call Corporate Communications at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 2664. If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, please contact the CBSA Border Watch Line at 1-888-502-9060.