Police bust alleged $1.6M car theft ring that exported high-end vehicles out of Canada

The excerpted article was written by Sean Davidson CTV News Toronto

TORONTO — Four people have been charged after police busted an alleged $1.6-million car theft ring that spanned across southern Ontario, exporting high-end stolen vehicles out of Canada.

Police in Hamilton, Ont. began their investigation, dubbed Project Seagull, in August 2019 after authorities became aware of the thefts.

The auto theft ring, which operated out of the city of Hamilton, targeted mainly rental cars, police allege.

Seven of the 39 vehicles stolen were found on a shipping container bound for Iraq, police said. Investigators believe other vehicles that have not yet been recovered have been shipped around the world.

On Dec. 5, police executed search warrants on six Hamilton businesses and three residences. While conducting their searches, officers seized 12 more stolen vehicles, numerous vehicle parts, cash, gold jewelry and other suspected stolen items.

Police said they also recovered fraudulent vehicle identification numbers, shipping documents and stolen Mexican passports.

How the alleged car theft ring operated

The majority of the auto thefts carried out by the accused targeted rental car companies, police allege.

Police said the suspects would use fraudulent documents to rent vehicles and never return them.

In some cases, the suspects would allegedly rent vehicles and clone the keys before returning them. Police said the suspects would then go back and steal the cars with the cloned keys.

“These four accused have a network going on,” Det. Sgt. Andrea Torrie said on Monday. “We have evidence they have probably been doing this for a couple of years.”

“We’re hoping we caused a major disruption in their business at this point.”

Who police charged

Three men and one woman have been charged in connection with the car thefts.

Yehia Al-Jbouri, 50, faces more than 50 charges in connection with the investigation, including possession of property obtained by crime and trafficking of property obtained by crime.

Zeyad Al-Khafaji, 45, has been charged with fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to commit.

Amer Al-Ogaili, 46, faces over 25 charges, including possession of property obtained by crime and trafficking in property obtained by crime.

Nahla Khayon, 46, is facing one charge of possession of property obtained by crime.

Three of the accused were released on their own recognizance and their first court appearance is Jan. 6, 2020. Khayon has been released on a Promise To Appear, with a future court date set for Jan. 21, 2020.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates auto thefts costs Canadians close to $1 billion yearly. In 2018, southern Ontario alone saw 9,500 thefts.

Hamilton police is asking anyone with information to contact Detective Sergeant Andrea Torrie at 905-546-2991 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

How to avoid a massive holiday health care bill when OHIP out-of-country coverage ends

The excerpted article was written by Solarina Ho CTV News

TORONTO — If you are an Ontario resident planning to travel outside of Canada over the holidays and will be out of the country after Jan. 1, make sure you have adequate travel health insurance coverage or risk dealing with a crippling medical bill should a medical emergency arise.

The Ontario government’s decision earlier this year to scrap its “inefficient” out-of-country health insurance coverage takes effect January 1, 2020. This means Ontarians who end up requiring major inpatient emergency care, for example, can no longer claim the $400-a-day maximum that OHIP currently provides and the $50-a-day maximum allowed for emergency outpatient services, such as an MRI or a CAT scan.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the decision in May following a public consultation, pointing to the inefficiency of the province spending $2.8 million administering $9 million claims each year.

The existing OHIP coverage is quite minimal given the cost of medical care abroad, said Robin Ingle, chief executive of travel insurance firm MSH Ingle International, especially in countries such as the United States, the most popular destination for Canadians.

“Today they cover about five per cent of your global health bill,” Ingle told CTV’s Your Morning, noting that the province used to cover some 80 per cent of a traveller’s out-of-country medical bill. The province was forced to change its coverage in 1991 due to the cost of the U.S. healthcare system.

A hospital stay in the U.S. could cost $5,000 a night, said Ingle. An MRI typically costs US$1,000 to US$5,000, an X-ray can range from US$150 to US$3,000.

Some locations might require a cash payment up front or refuse treatment altogether without proof you can pay or have adequate coverage.

“There was a recent example of a Canadian who was in Thailand, fell off a ladder, was stuck in the hospital because the family didn’t have travel insurance,” Ingle said Monday.

“The bill starts ramping up, and if you need an air evacuation, it’s not just the hospital bed cost. An air evacuation back to Canada from Thailand would be about US$150,000; from the Southern U.S., it would be about US$20,000.”

Ingle argued the new set-up will actually be better in the long run and expects other provinces will follow Ontario’s lead.

“As an insurer, for example, it’s a major hassle for us to actually get compensation back from the provincial government. So you might get a little bit of a rate increase now, but you will have it go down over time, because the processes will be simpler for the travel insurer,” he said.

Patients living with kidney failure will continue to have the same partial coverage for out-of-country dialysis care under a new program.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

You can ask about travel insurance through your credit card company, your employer’s insurance provider, a broker, or a travel agent, for example. Shop and compare insurance plans, and make sure you understand any requirements, conditions, and exclusions. Ask questions, such as:

• What does it cover? Does it include hospitalization while abroad?

• Ask specifically for the kind of products that you will need.

• What is the deductible, if any?

• How comprehensive is the plan? Are there coverage limitations or exclusions for certain destinations?

• Is the coverage renewable while you are out of the country?

• Who pays the bills upfront?

Regardless of your destination, the federal government recommends that your insurance covers the following:

• Medical evacuation to Canada or the nearest place with appropriate care, as well as the cost of a medical escort.

• Your pre-existing condition and have it in writing. Find out how your insurer defines “pre-existing condition” and what the limitations and restrictions are, and make sure the agreement covers a compassion clause and change of health clause.

• Preparation of your remains and repatriation to Canada in case of death.

Tech-savvy Thieves Don’t Need Your Keys

Insurance Bureau of Canada releases its 2019 Top 10 Stolen Vehicles list –

TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2019 /CNW/ – While the technology in our vehicles continues to evolve, so do sophisticated auto thieves who are using technology to bypass security systems and electronically gain access to Canadians’ vehicles. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is finding that technology is having a major impact on vehicle thefts, evident in its annual list, released today, of Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicles.

“Electronic auto theft is on the rise across the country as more vehicles are equipped with technology like keyless entry fobs,” said Bryan Gast, National Director of Investigative Services, IBC. “Regardless of how a vehicle is stolen, auto theft is a serious threat to Public Safety and continues to cost all Canadians.”

Auto theft is big business in Canada

Auto theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion every year. This includes $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.

While some vehicles are stolen to commit another crime or to be used to go for a “joyride”, many others are stolen by organized crime groups to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in Canada, shipped abroad or stripped down for parts.

2019 Top 10 Stolen Vehicles

IBC’s Top 10 Stolen Vehicles list is compiled using data from IBC’s member companies across the country. This year’s list includes nine vehicles that don’t have ignition immobilizers, which are devices that can prevent thieves from hot-wiring a vehicle. The lack of an ignition immobilizer is the number one reason this series of Ford trucks continues to take up the majority of spots on the list.

  1. Ford 350SD AWD 2007
  2. Ford 350SD AWD 2006
  3. Ford 350SD AWD 2005
  4. Ford 350SD AWD 2004
  5. Ford 250SD AWD 2006
  6. Ford 350SD AWD 2003
  7. Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD 2018
  8. Ford F250 SD 4WD 2005
  9. Ford F350 SD 4AWD 2002
  10. Honda Civic Si 2DR Coupe 1998

Tips to prevent auto theft  

Even with today’s tech-savvy thieves, there are a number of steps Canadians can take to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of auto theft.

  • Don’t leave a keyless entry fob in a vehicle or unprotected at the front entrance of your home. Thieves can use wireless transmitters to intercept the signal, giving them access to the vehicle. Consider storing fobs in a protective box or bag that blocks the signal.
  • Install an immobilizing device which prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring a vehicle. This can include devices that require wireless ignition authentication or starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers.
  • Install a tracking device that emits a signal to police or a monitoring station if a vehicle is stolen.
  • Don’t make your vehicle an easy target:
    • Never leave a vehicle running when unattended.
    • Lock the doors and close all windows when parked.
    • Make sure to park in well-lit areas or in the garage.
    • Use a visible or audible device that shows thieves a vehicle is protected.
    • Consider using a deterrent like a steering wheel or brake pedal lock.
    • Don’t leave personal information, like insurance and ownership documents, in the glove box when parked.

Interviews

IBC’s National Director of Investigative Services, Bryan Gast, is available for interviews and commentary on the list and how technology is changing how thieves steal vehicles in Canada. Mr. Gast comes to IBC after years of law enforcement service in Ontario.

Background

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, contributes $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

The most stolen vehicle models in Manitoba

WINNIPEG | CTV News

WINNIPEG — Vehicle theft may seem like a random act of crime, but the vehicle you drive can play a big part in the likelihood of it being stolen.

According to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), here are the most stolen cars in the province:

  1. Ford F150 (9.0 per cent of thefts)
  2. Chevrolet Silverado (5.0 per cent of thefts)
  3. GMC Sierra (4.7 per cent of thefts)
  4. Dodge Ram (4.4 per cent of thefts)
  5. Dodge Grand Caravan (4.1 per cent of thefts)

Four of the top five vehicles stolen in Manitoba are trucks.

HOW TO STOP YOUR CAR FROM BEING STOLEN

It’s a cold morning in Manitoba; you run outside and start your car to warm it up. When you go back outside to leave for work, you see your car is missing.

It’s one of the most common scenarios where vehicle thieves steal cars according to MPI.

The insurance company estimates 90 per cent of car thefts are related to the use of keys. IE: Keys left in the ignition/hidden in the vehicle, or stolen from the owner.

Ninety-nine per cent of vehicles in Manitoba are equipped with an approved immobilizer, but the immobilizer is disengaged upon the use of keys, or key fobs.

The message: protect your keys.

THE IMPACT ON YOUR WALLET

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says car theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion annually.

Every year, insurance companies shell out over $540 million to replace or fix stolen vehicles.

Police, healthcare and court system costs tally $250 million.

More important to the average driver, there’s also the increased cost of insurance for owning one of the cars on the list.

 

OACP team up with IBC & Accident Support Services International to stop thefts & valuables left in plain view

HAMILTON, ON, Dec. 4, 2019 /CNW/ – Ontario’s police leaders are teaming up with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and Accident Support Services International to warn motorists to Lock it OR Lose it when it comes to securing their vehicles and valuables this holiday season.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) has launched its annual Lock It OR Lose It campaign, which encourages drivers and passengers to take precautions to protect their vehicles and contents from theft, particularly during the holiday season. The campaign was kicked off at the Lime Ridge Mall in Hamilton.

“The holiday season should be about spending time with our families and friends. Our message is simple: don’t let would-be thieves play the role of Bad Santa by stealing your vehicle or valuables left unsecured. Keep things such as GPS and mobile devices, laptops, shopping bags, money, and credit cards out-of-sight as a way in deter criminal activities.” said OACP President Chief Paul Pedersen.

This year’s Lock it OR Lose it campaign is being launched during the holiday season because it’s easy for people to be distracted and leave their vehicles unlocked or valuables in plain sight during the festive hustle-and-bustle. Police will use Lock it OR Lose it notices throughout the year as part of on-going crime prevention efforts.

“About 236 motor vehicles are stolen in Canada every day. That’s 86,132 incidents per year. In Ontario alone, almost 24,000 vehicles were reported stolen,” Bryan Gast, the IBC’s National Director, Investigative Services. “Although we’ve seen increases in recent years, the rate of motor vehicle theft in Canada last year was 38% lower than in 2008. But it doesn’t mean we can drop our guard. In fact, we need to be more vigilant than ever.”

According to Gast, today’s auto thieves are turning to technology – and vehicles’ electronic systems – to bypass security systems and steal vehicles. Electronic auto theft is on the rise as more vehicles are equipped with technology such as keyless entry fobs. In fact, the insurance industry has seen the growing trend that thieves are able to copy FOB information and steal cars right from your driveway.

During local Lock it OR Lose it outreach initiatives by police services throughout the year, police officers, auxiliary officers, and crime prevention personnel examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables are left in plain view. A small notice is placed on vehicles checked – not just ones that are found unsecured – advising what safety precautions may have been neglected and offering simple prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft. The notices congratulate drivers who have secured their vehicle.

Motorists are urged not to keep personal documents such as vehicle ownership, liability pink slips, credit card invoices or other documents containing personal information in their vehicles. Identity thieves are looking for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts, lease vehicles for export, and even take out a mortgage against victims’ properties without their knowledge.

#LockItOrLoseIt

The Lock it OR Lose it Campaign is supported by a number of OACP partners:

Accident Support Services International

arrive alive/DRIVE SOBER

Insurance Bureau of Canada

The OACP also supports arrive alive/Drive Safe’s  #HolidayRide Campaign http://www.arrivealive.org/

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

Canada: What To Know About Left-Turn Accidents

Article by Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers

What to know about left-turn accidents

Traffic accidents always come down to a blame game and the person making the left turn is often in the wrong. About half of all crashes at Canadian intersections involved a vehicle that was turning left, according to a 2007 joint study by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

With so many claims stemming from those incidents, the Insurance Bureau of Canada considers all left turns into traffic that lead to an accident, as against insurance company policy.

Before trying to beat the light and making an ill-advised left turn, here are some things drivers should consider:

Different types of insurance

Insurance companies always deem someone at fault in cases of accidents. The fault could be partial or full depending on the circumstances. Individuals deal with their own insurance companies, regardless of who caused the accident. No-fault insurance allows a person to receive part or full coverage by their company regardless of who caused the accident. They can receive medical and other benefits without having to track down the other driver and take them to court. They are also eligible even if they are deemed to have caused the accident.

Proving who’s at fault

Insurance companies determine fault by analyzing accident reports. Therefore, if the other driver committed a traffic violation as well, such as speeding or running a red light, there is room for adjustment. Adjusters can “split the fault” in these situations, instead of the full liability for the driver turning left.

As a driver, proving what happened at the time of the accident is crucial in determining your eligibility for an insurance claim. First-hand witness accounts are helpful in constructing the scene before and after the accident.

An impartial witness is ideal to corroborate your story, especially if you claim that the other driver was at fault.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

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