Provincial police have taken the wraps off of Project MYRA, announcing the arrest of 28 people, the laying of 242 offences and the recovery of more than 200 stolen cars. Among those charged are an unspecified number of Servic Ontario employees.
At a news conference on Thursday, police said their 22-month probe began in September 2020 after police uncovered an auto theft network they claim was modifying stolen vehicles’ identification numbers (VINs) to sell them.
OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox says the investigation has recovered 214 vehicles valued at more than $12 million.
“A wide range of stolen vehicles have been recovered including high-end vehicles,” Cox told reporters. ” Some vehicles recovered by the investigative team have been linked to other criminal activities.”
He says by modifying the VINs of these vehicles, the suspects were able to fraudulently register the vehicles and take advantage of consumers who may have unknowingly purchased a stolen vehicle.
The investigation identified three auto theft-based criminal organizations in Peel, Durham and York.
Police say the thefts occurred mainly in Ontario.
Honda/Acura has accounted for 37 per cent of vehicles recovered.
26 of the suspects are from Ontario, while two are from Saskatchewan.
The age range of the suspects is from 27 to 59, most are from the Greater Toronto Area, but the accused also include a suspect each from Bradford and Gravenhurst.
Charges range from breach of trust, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, using a forged document, trafficking in property obtained by crime and fraud over $5,000.
Police say they executed 44 search warrants, resulting in the seizure of cocaine, cannabis, suspected cannabis resin, fentanyl, and suspected psilocybin.
Banner image – OPP supplied