598 stolen vehicles recovered from ‘Project Vector’: CBSA, Quebec and Ontario police investigation

“We anticipate arrests,” said Marty Kearns, deputy commissioner for the Ontario Provincial Police, after 598 stolen vehicles were recovered from containers in Montreal through an interprovincial police investigation. Gareth Madoc-Jones reports.

By News Staff

Nearly 600 stolen vehicles have been recovered in Montreal by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) along with the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) as part of “Project Vector,” which found that around 75 per cent of the stolen cars recovered from containers in Montreal were reported stolen in Ontario.

“The primary vehicles being targeted were newer vehicles, including high-end pickup trucks and SUVs,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Marty Kearns.

The CBSA works regularly with the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), Montreal police (SVPM) and Équité Association to search shipping containers suspected of having stolen vehicles.

“Project Vector illustrates the strength of the partnership between all the actors involved in the fight against vehicle theft,” said SQ Deputy Director General Benoit Dubé.

The police forces held a press conference on Wednesday morning in Montreal, providing the results of their investigation.

Canadian police officers are seen
Canadian police officers are seen at a press conference in Montreal, April 3 2024. (Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews Image)

Since December 2023, Project Vector has led to 390 shipping containers being inspected and 598 vehicles recovered, including 483 from Ontario and 115 from Quebec.

About 80 per cent of the Quebec vehicles come from the Greater Montreal region according the Sûreté du Québec. The estimated value of the vehicles stolen from Ontario is $34.5 million, and for Quebec it’s about $8.5 million. 

“Project Vector has disrupted the criminal networks that take advantage of the Canadian export market to sell stolen vehicles,” explained Kearns. “These vehicles were destined to be exported overseas to markets in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America.”

“I think probably it’s just a question of opportunity because the port is in Montreal it’s the biggest port going to expedition,” said SPVM Inspector Dominique Côté. “I think it’s just opportunity and not vulnerability, it’s not related to Montreal specifically, it’s just an occasion to deport the vehicle.” 

Parked cars are seen
Parked cars are seen, April 3 2024. (Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews Image)

According to the press release, the cars have been connected to several crimes including carjackings and home invasions.

“Every day, our teams of patrol officers and investigators make arrests, seize vehicles and conduct investigations to dismantle networks,” said Côté. “It’s this day-to-day work, with the support of all our partners, that produces concrete results like those presented today.”

The investigations into the stolen vehicles remains ongoing.

“Just to reiterate, we’re not done. You know, these are active investigations with all of the police services you see here today. And we anticipate arrests and charges in the near future,” said Kearns.

Parked cars are seen
Parked cars are seen, April 3 2024. (Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews Image)

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