09
December
2019
|
10:35
America/New_York

Project Seagull Targets Organized Auto Theft Ring

Hamilton Police have arrested four individuals after a four-month investigation into criminal activity involving the exportation of stolen vehicles out of Canada. The investigation, dubbed Project Seagull, was conducted in partnership with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

In August 2019, Hamilton Police Service launched an investigation on a Hamilton male who was heavily involved in organized auto theft and exporting stolen vehicles out of Canada. Operating out of Hamilton, the organized auto theft ring involved local auto sales businesses. Investigators believe the group has been involved in over 39 vehicle thefts with a value in excess of $1,600,000 million. To date, investigators have recovered seven stolen vehicles bound for Iraq and believe many more have been shipped.

On December 5, 2019, Hamilton Police executed warrants on six local businesses and three residences. During the warrants, police seized 12 stolen vehicles, numerous vehicle parts, cash, gold jewellery and other suspected stolen items, as well as car keys and fobs. In addition, there were numerous fraudulent Vehicle Identification Numbers, shipping documents and stolen Mexican passports.

Warrants were executed at the following businesses:

  • 401 Parkdale Ave North - Quanset Hut
  • 119 Parkdale Avenue North - Zara Auto Sales
  • 6 Macallum St - AB Auto Recyclers and Dealer Exports
  • 521 Wentworth St N - gated/storage compound
  • 15 Wentworth St N - Mr. Temo Auto Repairs & Cars-X Auto Sales
  • 684 Mud St - Stoney Creek Airport - two leased hangers 
download
Project SEAGULL

Hamilton Police have charged the following individuals:

Yehia AL-JBOURI (50-years-old)

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime X 28
  • Trafficking in Property Obtained by Crime X 12
  • Fraud Over X 1
  • Fraudulent Concealment X 4
  • Tamper with Vehicle Identification Number X 6
  • Conspiracy to Commit X 1
  • Participate in activities of a criminal organization

Zeyad AL-KHAFAJI (45-years-old)

  • Fraud Over x 1
  • Fraudulent Concealment X 1
  • Conspiracy to Commit X 1
  • Participate in activities of a criminal organization

Amer AL-OGAILI (46-years-old)

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime x 13
  • Trafficking in Property Obtained by Crime x 4
  • Fraudulent Concealment x 3
  • Tamper with Vehicle Identification Number X 5
  • Participate in activities of a criminal organization

Nahla KHAYON (46-years-old)

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime X 1

All three males were released on their own recognizance and their first court appearance is January 6, 2020. The female has been released on a Promise to Appear, with a future court date of January 21, 2020.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates auto thefts cost Canadians close to $1 billion yearly, including $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. In 2018, Southern Ontario alone saw 9500 thefts and $162.5 million in industry payouts.

The investigation is ongoing and further charges may be pending. If you have any information that you believe could assist Police with the investigation into this crime, you are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Andrea Torrie at 905-546-2991.

To provide information anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit your anonymous tips online at www.crimestoppershamilton.com.