The Inside Story of the Stolen Canada Car Found in West Africa
Isn’t the news of finding a long-lost item always exciting? But this excitement took a turn for bewilderment for a Canadian lad named Len Green. Len came to know that his car, stolen over a year ago, had been found. His car was found with all his documents still inside it, but halfway across the globe in West Africa! Interestingly, what seemed like a car theft turned out to be a case of inter-continental car smuggling. But how was a stolen Canada car found in West Africa!
The Car Was Stolen in Less than Five Minutes
In September of 2022, Len Green parked his car in his driveway in Toronto, Canada. Little did he know that it was the last time he would ever see his prized car. The next morning, when Green’s wife decided to take the car out, it wasn’t in the driveway anymore. The couple checked the doorbell camera and found that their car was stolen from their driveway during the early morning hours in less than five minutes!
It turns out the thieves who stole Green’s car weren’t ordinary thieves. They were tech-savvy criminals who used modern tools and techniques to steal the car. The techniques involve relay attack, reprogramming the on-board diagnostic (OBD) tool, manipulating the car’s controller area network (CAN), and more such advanced methods that require expert-level knowledge.
How Was the Stolen Car Traced to Ghana?
A Canadian news agency, CBC, with the help of a police detective, managed to trace the stolen car of an Ontario couple, Greg and Lynn Gannett, to Ghana. Just like Len Green from Toronto, Greg and Lynn’s car was also stolen from their driveway in Ontario. So, David, a CBC reporter, visited Greg and Lynn and told them that they had found their car. David also told the couple that he was planning to fly to Ghana to see their car.
But David was in for a surprise when he reached Ghana. Not only did he find Greg and Lynn’s car, but he also stumbled upon a lot full of Canadian cars. Not just that, these cars still had their Canadian license plates still on them. David even found insurance and other documents still safely tucked in the glove compartment of one of the cars.
So, David went on to check the documents, which led him to the owner of the car, i.e., Len Green. Without wasting any time, David decided to call Green to break the news to him. David Facetimed Green and showed him his stolen car. Green, still unable to contemplate how his car reached Ghana, told David that it was his second car stolen from his driveway in the last six years.
Auto Theft Is Now Regarded as a “National Crisis” in Canada
The case of Len Green’s vehicle being found in Ghana with several other stolen Canadian cars makes it evident that it isn’t the work of any ordinary thief. In fact, the Canadian authorities have considered auto theft a “national crisis” in the country. The police investigations suggest that the organized criminal groups from Montreal are mainly the ones behind most of such auto thefts in Canada.
As of 2022, the rates of car theft in Quebec have gone up by 50 percent year on year. While the same for Ontario have increased by 48 percent year on year. The police investigation also revealed that after stealing the cars in Canada, they are quickly loaded onto trains and trucks that take them to the port of Montreal.
One Car Gets Stolen Every 17 Minutes
The stolen Canada car found in West Africa is just one of the thousands of cars stolen in Canada every year. The cars stolen in Canada in 2022 are estimated to have been worth more than a billion dollars! Not just that, in 2022, more than 27,000 cars have been reported stolen from the Toronto and Hamilton area alone. That means that one car was stolen every 17 minutes in these regions!
Out of all the cars stolen in Canada, 80% are quickly moved to shipping containers and then moved to ports. Meanwhile, the thieves also disable the GPS tracking on the stolen cars, and then they are shipped to a port in Montreal. From there, they are sent to safe havens like Malta, UAE, Ghana, and Nigeria and then sold in local, pre-owned-car garages and online classified ads.
Consequent to the increase in thefts, the Canadian insurance industry is now planning on increasing insurance premiums due to increased car thefts. Although the Canadian authorities are trying their best to prevent such grand thefts of autos, their efforts seem to be futile.
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