The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) Auto Theft Task Force has recovered 10 vehicles and laid multiple charges after an investigation called “Project VINcent.”
During the course of the investigation, the Task Force identified an organized vehicle theft ring operating in Halton and the Greater Toronto Area. Thieves would steal vehicles, increasingly these days by tapping into key fob signals and cloning them. The suspects would register fictitious or cloned VINs (Vehicle Identification Numbers) with the MTO. Once the documents were registered, the suspects put the new VINs on stolen vehicles and sold them to unsuspecting buyers. Ten of these vehicles have been recovered by the HRPS Auto Theft Task Force.
Thursday, investigators caught up with Fabricio Calderon (47) of Etobicoke. He has been charged with the following:
Uttering a Forged Document (25 counts)
Possession of a Counterfeit Mark (22 counts)
Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000
Possession of Property Obtained by Crime under $5000
Calderon was held in custody pending a bail hearing.
What is VIN Cloning?
VIN cloning takes place when a suspect copies the identity of a car and attaches it to another vehicle. The “cloned” VIN is often attached to a stolen vehicle. In these cases, the VIN installed by the manufacturer is removed and replaced with the “cloned” VIN from a second vehicle. The cloned or second VIN is a valid and genuine number from a vehicle that is of a similar make and model to the stolen vehicle.
There are some measures that residents can take to decrease the chance of the vehicle being stolen:
Park your vehicle in a locked garage
Block the exit of a potential target vehicle with a second vehicle parked behind it
Install an on-board diagnostic blocker/protector
Install a steering wheel lock device
Install an aftermarket GPS tracking device
Install home security cameras on the exterior of the residence
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Regional Auto Theft Task Force at 905-825-4777 ext. 3407.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.
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