$3.5 million worth of stolen vehicles returned to Canada after being found in shipping containers in Malta
Dozens of vehicles stolen from driveways in the Toronto metropolitan area have been recovered on the other side of the world and returned to Canada.
York Local Police say 64 stolen cars worth $3.5 million have been found in a shipping container in the Republic of Malta and are “ready for illegal sale”.
The vehicle was then repatriated with the assistance of the Canadian Border Services Authority (CBSA) and the Malta Port Authority.
According to police, investigators believe all the vehicles were stolen from a driveway near Toronto by members of a gang of car thieves who are the subject of his year-long investigation called “Project Majestic.”
A total of 18 people have been arrested so far as part of the March 2021 investigation. At the time, police seized 70 of his stolen cars worth $4.5 million.
“The suspect was able to get into the vehicle, reprogram the ignition computer, and drive away with a new key,” police said in a press release issued Friday. It was loaded into sea containers and taken by rail to Montreal, after which the containers were loaded onto ships and vehicles and delivered to buyers in Africa and the United Arab Emirates.”
Police say the auto theft ring mostly targeted high-end vehicles, including Lexus, Toyota and Honda sport utility vehicles. At this point it is not clear whether any additional charges will be filed in connection with the theft of the vehicles recovered in Malta.
Police say the investigation remains “ongoing.”
According to York Regional Police, 64 vehicles stolen from a driveway near Toronto have been recovered in Eastern Europe and returned to Canada. The stolen Canadian vehicle, worth $3.5 million, was seized in the Republic of Malta, according to a press release on Friday.
The project, named Project Majestic, brings together the Toronto Police Department’s Motor Vehicle Theft Deterrence Project, the Peel County Police Department’s Commercial Motor Crime Unit, and the Peel County Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit.
“Investigators have identified a criminal syndicate that stole luxury vehicles, including Lexus, Toyota and Honda, from a driveway in a residential neighborhood near Toronto,” the statement said.
The Malta Port Authority and the Customs and Equity Association were able to work with the Canadian Border Services Authority (CBSA) to locate the stolen vehicle. York police say the vehicle was kept in a shipping container and was ready to be sold illegally. The Canadian suspect was allegedly able to get into the car, reprogram the ignition computer, and drive away with a new key.
The vehicles were then either taken to a port in Montreal or loaded into shipping containers in Toronto, from where they were taken by rail to Montreal, police say.
The vehicles were then loaded onto ships in containers and delivered to buyers in Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
Eighteen people were charged with more than 170 crimes, including conspiracy, trafficking in criminal property and car theft. According to York Police, the total number of vehicles recovered as part of Project Majestic is more than 130, valued at over $8 million. According to a press release, between March 2021 and December 2022, more than 70 stolen vehicles valued at over $4.5 million have been seized.