York Regional Police announced a successful recovery of almost thirty vehicles valued at $1.5 million Thursday, noting that there has been "an increase in thefts of Toyota and Lexus SUVs, with the majority stolen between midnight and 6 am." The vehicles targeted are "in high demand" overseas in Africa and Asia.
Police said the thieves used tools like screwdrivers to break into the vehicles without setting off alarms. Once inside, they used an electronic device to have the vehicles accept the key on their person as the key belonging to the vehicles. Police said mechanics typically use the device to reprogram the vehicle's settings.
Six suspects, Moussa Traore, 35, George Nsiah, 41, Emmanuel Kanu, 37, Admire Chari, 39, Clem Anewi, 50, and Diallo Babacar, 34, have been charged. They are all GTA residents.
York has been a hotbed for vehicle thefts, as in 2020, York Police recovered 73 luxury cars valued at 4.5 million dollars. The seizure last year is the culmination of a covert operation spanning two months, as police slowly infiltrated the organization. Held at a secret location in Mississauga, they allegedly stole another 32 vehicles and shipped them to Nigeria and Ghana.