Car thefts: 7 stolen Lexus vehicles lead to arrests

Three people were arrested earlier this week in connection with the theft of several Lexus RX350 vehicles that investigators believe would be shipped overseas.

Police said the three men, believed to be from Quebec, were arrested on Tuesday and charged with theft of more than $5,000. The charges came after seven vehicles were stolen across the Lower Mainland.

New Westminster Police Department, Surrey RCMP, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, RCMP Air Services and the Lower Mainland Police Dog Team all collaborated on the investigation.

Three of the vehicles were found in a shipping container at a Surrey salvage yard, police said. Three more were found in a shipping container that had been moved from Surrey wharf to a truck yard in New Westminster. The last vehicle was found parked on a road in Surrey.

Police said they believe the vehicles would be shipped to eastern Canada first and then abroad. While they didn’t say where they thought the cars would eventually end up, researchers across the country have noted an increase in car thefts, with criminal enterprises taking advantage of low-risk, high-profit opportunities to sell Canadian cars to markets in the Central American region. East and Africa.

For example, a listing of a 2019 Lexus RX350 shows that the vehicle is selling for about $48,000 Canadian today. But in Nigeria, on a used car site, it goes for the equivalent of $79,000.

Metro Vancouver Mounties said the three men, 21-year-old Yahya Zitouni, 18-year-old Mohamed Ayoub Bouterra and 27-year-old Samer Al Rifai, are all in custody and are due to appear in court on Monday.

“These stolen vehicles are being returned to their rightful owners thanks to a regional effort to find those responsible and hold them accountable for their actions,” said NWPD Insp. Trevor Dudar in a press release Thursday.

“Our message to car thieves is that we watch, we share information and it’s only a matter of time before you see the inside of a courtroom.”

Featuring files from Jon Woodward of CTV News Toronto

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