Kayla Goodfield Writer, CTV News Toronto

TORONTO — Dozens of vehicles stolen throughout the Greater Toronto Area and destined for Libya and Turkey have been recovered after they were stopped by Canadian border officials and Italian police officers.

Back in April, members of York Regional Police’s financial crimes unit were contacted by officers with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regarding an ongoing investigation.

The CBSA had previously flagged the export of a 2018 Audi Q7 and deemed it to be suspicious. Throughout their investigation they realized that the same vehicle was being probed as part of an auto finance fraud investigation being conducted by members of York Regional Police.

“Investigators discovered a number of other vehicles involved, many destined overseas,” officers said in a news release issued on Wednesday.

According to investigators, these vehicles were in shipping containers destined for Libya and Turkey, but were flagged while on stopovers at two Italian ports in Salerno and Tauro after officials notified the Polizia di Stato, the national police of Italy.

“Through a collaborative effort, York Regional Police along with CBSA officers and the Italian National Police identified 40 vehicles that were obtained by fraud or stolen from York Region and the Greater Toronto Area,” police said.

Thirty of the vehicles were seized at the Italian ports and the other 10 were seized by the CBSA before they could be exported from Canada. The vehicles seized in Italy are worth approximately $1.5 million, according to police, and the other vehicles are worth more than $300,000.

“York Regional Police are working with the CBSA, Italian State Police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada to have the vehicles returned to Canada where they can be returned to their lawful owners,” officers said.

Furthermore, after a search warrant was executed by officers at the offices of RS Royal Services, located on Bakersfield Street in Toronto, additional vehicles are being investigated as part of this case.

“This investigation is ongoing,” police said.

Anyone with further information is asked to contact York Regional Police’s financial crimes unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6612 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

CTV News Toronto