You warm up your car in the driveway and go back inside to make coffee. When you come out to drive to work, the vehicle is gone. In a few days, it is sold in Africa. Seven people were arrested and more than $1 million in stolen automobiles recovered after a joint forces investigation, dubbed Project Lakeland, into an auto theft ring operating in Durham Region, York Region and Toronto.
Investigators from Durham and York uncovered and dismantled an organized crime ring that included an informal collection of thieves who stole the cars, business owners who fraudulently obtained documents, and an exporter who shipped the stolen vehicles from Canada to be sold in Africa. The stolen vehicles were sealed in steel sea containers in the GTA and shipped to Africa via the Ports of Halifax and Montreal. Project Lakeland partners included: York Regional Police; Ministry of Transportation of Ontario; RCMPs Ontario Division; Toronto Police Service; Canada Border Service Agency; Service Ontario; Insurance Bureau of Canada; Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council; and LoJack Canada.