Auto theft: Ontario and Montreal police reportedly working on joint investigation

Click to play video: 'Montreal police and Ontario provincial police join forces to crack down on car theft'
Montreal police and Ontario provincial police join forces to crack down on car theft
RELATED - Along with five members of his Liberal cabinet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off the national Auto Theft Summit on Thursday, where officials will explore solutions for the increasing threat of vehicle thefts. Trudeau said it has become too easy to steal cars from Canadians and export them overseas, offering potential solutions – Mar 20, 2024

Members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are in Montreal this week for a joint operation.

Details are slim, but media reports suggest the forces are working together on an investigation regarding stolen cars.

An OPP command post was parked Wednesday at a Montreal police east operations centre in St-Léonard.

“If the OPP is here, it’s to arrest people who have committed crimes in Ontario, and as it is the custom, you always ask for assistance from the local police agency,” said Andre Durocher, a former SPVM inspector and Director of Community Relations and Road Safety at CAA-Quebec.

The country has been struggling to curb a dramatic increase in car thefts.

According to a report released last month by the Équité Association, an organization that aims to reduce insurance fraud and crime, 30, 134 cars were stolen in Ontario in 2023. In Quebec, 15, 225 cars were stolen last year.

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The organization says one vehicle is stolen every five minutes in Canada.

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Experts say a large number of stolen vehicles are funnelled through the Port of Montreal.

“There’s a lot of legal technicalities — when a container is sealed, how you can open it when you can open it, what’s in there,” said Durocher. “And given the amount of containers at the port, you cannot verify every single container.”

New Hampshire resident Robert Arndt knows about those logistical challenges all too well.

Last month, while visiting his daughter and grandchildren in Ontario, his truck was stolen and a GPS tracking device detected it had ended up in Montreal.

Authorities told him it was likely that his truck was in a container and there wasn’t enough resources to recover it.

“I don’t care if you’re RCMP, if you’re Montreal [police], Port authority, if you get the call, they should be allowed in there to look for that car,” said Arndt. “When I called I was told three different stories of who’s responsibility it was in that port.”

Arndt has lost hope that he’ll ever see his truck again.

His hope now is that the Canadian government will get a hold on the car theft crisis for the sake of others.

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The OPP has a press conference scheduled on Friday when they’re expected to discuss its joint operation with the Montreal Police.

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