Hamilton Police have put a used vehicle parts operation (AKA chop-shop) out of business with the arrest of three men following a two-month investigation into criminal activity involving stolen vehicles and more. The investigation, dubbed Project El Dorado was conducted in partnership with the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Niagara Police Service.
In May of 2021, Hamilton Police launched an investigation into an organized auto theft and chop shop ring. The project took place at various locations in the Hamilton and Niagara Region.
Hamilton Police BEAR Unit, Emergency Response Unit, Niagara Regional Police Emergency Response Unit along with the Insurance Bureau of Canada executed six search warrants at five different locations in the Hamilton and Niagara Region.
Last week investigators completed the project. Investigators seized 20 stolen vehicles, numerous vehicle parts, a firearm and other suspected stolen items.
Ryan Strong, 37 Years-of-age, Robert Sheppard, 30 of Hamilton along with 34-year-old Andrew Wayne of Niagara face dozens of breaking, entering and theft charges. Wayne also faces firearms charges.
The trio were released on their own recognizance and their first court appearance is August 12, 2021.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates auto thefts cost Canadians close to $1 billion yearly, including $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen vehicles, $250 million in police, health care and court system costs and millions more for correctional services.
The investigation is ongoing, anyone with any information that could assist Police with the investigation into this crime, are asked to contact Detective Sean Woodard by calling 905-546-3820 or Detective Sergeant Andrea Torrie at 905-546-2991.
To provide information anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit anonymous tips online at http://www.crimestoppershamilton.com