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Edmonton police investigate after rental companies swindled out of $600K in vehicles and equipment

A file photo of an Edmonton Police Service vehicle. File/Global News

The Edmonton Police Service is warning rental businesses to be vigilant in confirming the identity of people renting equipment from them. The message comes as EPS investigates an alleged scam that saw thieves make off with over $600,000 in vehicles and other equipment across the city and province over the past 10 months.

In a news release issued on Thursday, police said they launched a probe of multiple reported incidents in June 2018.

“It is alleged the suspects contact rental companies by phone, then fraudulently book vehicles and equipment using a business name familiar to the respective rental company,” police said. “Rental company staff will then prepare the vehicles and equipment for pickup on an agreed-to date and time.

“Typically, the equipment goes out without the suspects providing any sort of verification or identification to the rental staff company.”

According to police, a pair of super duty trucks, valued at over $100,000, were fraudulently obtained from a south Edmonton vehicle rental business in June. Then in February, a vehicle valued at more than $30,000 was fraudulently obtained from a west Edmonton vehicle rental company.

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Earlier this month, another two trucks, valued at more than $100,000, were fraudulently obtained from another rental company in west Edmonton.

READ MORE: Organized crime behind surge in Canadian vehicle thefts, auto insurance fraud: experts

Watch below: (From December 2018) The Insurance Bureau of Canada has released a list of the most commonly stolen cars and trucks. As Sean O’Shea reports, many thieves are using new technology to steal their favourite vehicles.

Click to play video 'Identifying vehicles most likely to be stolen' Identifying vehicles most likely to be stolen
Identifying vehicles most likely to be stolen – Dec 11, 2018

“The orders booked over the phone are usually large and involve anywhere between $60,000 and $120,000 of rental equipment including skid steers, welders, generators and vehicles,” police said. “Similar events have also been reported in Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood Park and Calgary.”

Anyone with information about such incidents is asked to call police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or contacting them online.

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