Three arrested in Toyota car theft ring


MONTREAL — Three men have been arrested as part of what Longueuil police described as a global luxury car-theft ring.

Police said the trio used a device that disabled anti-theft systems on targeted vehicles.

Two men, 52 and 34, were arrested Tuesday and face charges of conspiracy, possession of stolen goods, possession of tools to commit a crime and breach of probation.

A 24-year-old man was freed on a promise to appear in court at a later date.

There is no car-theft charge because police did not see the suspects steal vehicles, Longueuil police Constable Mark David said.

Yet the suspects are believed responsible for “several thefts” on the South Shore, David said.

Undercover Longueuil police followed a suspect Tuesday morning as part of Projet Toyota, a months-long Longueuil police operation to watch suspected thieves of Rav 4, Highlander, Venza and Lexus models, David said. Lexus is a high-end brand in the Toyota corporate family.

Police followed a suspect from Longueuil to Montreal where he picked up another suspect, David said.

The pair then went to a hotel in east-end Montreal where they met with a third man.

The third man got into a Lexus RX 350 SUV that was reported stolen earlier in Vaudreuil. The undercover officers followed the men to Longueuil, where police arrested them at about 12:30 p.m.

In one of the cars driven by the suspects, police seized Toyota brand microchip keys, a microchip programmer, a booklet with key codes, a computer able to penetrate vehicle anti-theft systems and other break-and-entry equipment, David said.

David said the suspects likely had contacts with a global car-theft network moving stolen vehicles out of Montreal on ships to ports in Africa and the Middle East.

Toyota Canada spokesperson Melanie Testani said the carmaker “is confident in the integrity of our vehicle security system.”

“We have a robust system, the integrity of which has never been compromised.”

A spokesperson for the Insurance Bureau of Canada refused to comment.


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