Nearly half of 124 arrested by Ontario carjacking task force were on bail: police

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Ontario police warn about high risk of carjackings, home invasions
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Nearly half of the 124 people arrested by Ontario’s carjacking task force were out on bail, police say, with many being released again after their latest arrest.

The Provincial Carjacking Joint Task Force, which operated from September 2023 until March, saw 124 arrests made and 749 criminal charges laid, police said.

The initiative, which was co-led by the Toronto Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police and included police services across the GTA, has since wrapped up, but police say they remain committed to tackling auto theft.

“This joint task force exemplifies the commitment of the Greater Toronto Area law enforcement to disrupt the networks behind violent auto thefts, and highlights the crucial role of collaboration in tackling issues that affect all of our communities,” said deputy Toronto police chief Robert Johnson at a press conference Tuesday.

“However, law enforcement is just one part of the solution. It’s really concerning that 44 per cent of those arrested were out on bail at the time of their arrest, and 61 per cent were subsequently released on bail yet again.”

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Johnson later noted that 36 of the 124 people arrested — around 29 per cent — were young offenders, with 47 per cent of them reoffenders.

So those young offenders who were arrested for car thefts were already before the courts on previous charges,” he said.

Handout / Toronto Police

Of the 36 young offenders arrested, 26 were released on bail again, he said.

“The stats are rather staggering,” he said.

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Johnson said that it’s a “complicated issue” as to why minors may commit car thefts, with one possible reason being the “low risk, high payoff.”

“There’s a lot of money to be made,” he noted, and said some criminals target young people who may want to make money.

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“The lack of potential consequences might be a driving factor as well. And frankly our court system, rightly so, gives gives people second chances, and sometimes third and fourth chances. …

“Thankfully in this country, people are given a second chance. But when it’s when it’s multiple times, it is frustrating, for sure.”

The task force resulted in 177 stolen vehicles being recovered, valued at more than $10 million. Eight guns were also seized.

Project Titanium nets additional arrests

Meanwhile, police also announced the results of Project Titanium on Tuesday, which resulted in several more arrests being made.

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The project was launched as a result of intelligence gathered by the Provincial Carjacking Joint Task Force, OPP Deputy Commissioner Marty Kearns said.

“In March of this year, the task force identified a criminal network responsible for numerous crimes ranging from armed home invasions, store robberies, break-and-enters, vehicle thefts and violent carjackings,” Kearns said.

Click to play video: 'Project Titanium: Police recover $10M+ worth of stolen cars in Ontario'
Project Titanium: Police recover $10M+ worth of stolen cars in Ontario

The OPP-led Provincial Auto Theft and Towing Team then launched the project, Kearns said.

Project Titanium concluded last week with the Provincial Auto Theft and Towing Team successfully dismantling this criminal network through the execution of numerous search warrants and the arrest of those involved,” he said.

On June 18 and 19, search warrants were executed on six vehicles and four locations in Toronto and Peel Region. Several items were reportedly seized, included a loaded handgun and ammunition.

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There were 23 vehicles recovered throughout the investigation, valued at more than $5 million, police said.

Handout / Ontario Provincial Police

Eight people have been charged with 103 offences, police said, with four of those charged remanded into custody, two being released with later court dates, and warrants issued for two outstanding suspects.

What is alarming about this investigation is that the vehicle thefts were not simply carried out in the middle of the night on an unoccupied target vehicle,” OPP Det. Insp. Scott Wade said.

Many of the thefts involved violence, some with forceful entry into homes, with demands that the owners hand over the keys to their vehicles. This investigation involved armed robberies posing a significant risk to public safety. …

“Police will continue to work together to pursue criminals who threaten the peace of mind of those we endeavor to protect.”


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