WRPS’ Investigation Results in Arrest of Eight Individuals and Recovery of 45 Stolen Vehicles

Media Release

Waterloo Region, Ontario – Waterloo Regional Police have recovered 45 stolen vehicles and laid 92 criminal charges in connection to an ongoing vehicle theft investigation.

Between June 1, 2023, and November 21, 2023, police received 84 reports of stolen vehicles and attempted thefts across the region.

Vehicles targeted included newer model (2020-2023) high-end SUVs and pickup trucks, specifically Toyota Highlanders, Lexus RX350s, Chevrolet Suburbans, GMC Yukons, Chevrolet Tahoes, and Dodge Rams. In these incidents, reprogramming technology was utilized to steal the vehicles. This type of theft occurs when suspects force entry into a vehicle and use an electronic device to access the diagnostics. Suspects then reprogram a blank key fob, start the vehicle, and drive away.

As part of this investigation, WRPS’ Break, Enter, and Vehicle Theft (BEVT) Team conducted multiple search warrants at residences in Cambridge, Guelph, Paris, Brampton, and Mississauga.

As a result, a total of 45 stolen vehicles worth approximately $3.1 million were recovered. A large quantity of Canadian currency, numerous blank keys, and reprogramming equipment were also recovered.

Recovered stolen vehicle

Recovered stolen vehicle

Seized reprogramming equipment

Seized reprogramming equipment

Seized currency


Link to Video: https://youtu.be/XM-RI7eK044

BEVT Team investigators have arrested and charged eight males in connection to this investigation, including two 17-year-olds from Guelph, an 18-year-old and a 24-year-old from Paris, two 19-year-olds from Cambridge, a 25-year-old from Brampton, and a 26-year-old from British Columbia.

A total of 92 criminal charges have been laid against the eight males, including:

  • Theft of motor vehicle (39 counts)
  • Possession of automobile master key
  • Trafficking of stolen property over $5,000
  • Possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000

“These arrests put a major dent in criminal activity linked to organized crime in Waterloo Region, but there is more work to be done,” said Staff Sergeant Ian Kerr, of WRPS’ Property and Financial Crime Unit. “We remain dedicated to fighting vehicle theft in our community, and will continue to target those involved in this criminal activity.”

As part of our ongoing strategy to prevent and effectively investigate vehicle thefts, Waterloo Regional Police Service was grateful to have recently received funding as part of the provincial government's Preventing Auto Thefts (PAT) Grant program. The $687,000 grant, spread over three years, will enable WRPS to increase enforcement and proactive initiatives aimed at combatting motor vehicle theft and assist in bringing those responsible to justice.

How Does Reprogramming Vehicle Theft Work?

The suspects will approach the vehicle and force entry inside. Once inside the vehicle, an electronic device is used to access the vehicle’s diagnostics. The suspects then reprogram a blank key fob so the vehicle can be started.

Protecting Your Vehicle From Reprogramming Theft

Help make your vehicle more secure with the following prevention tips: 

  • Park your vehicle inside a locked and secure garage, or block your vehicle in with another vehicle.
  • Block the access to the onboard diagnostic port to prevent thieves from reprogramming the vehicle’s key fob (a simple device can be purchased online).
  • Use a steering wheel locking device to deter theft. 
  • Equip your vehicle with an aftermarket Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker. GPS systems that come standard with some vehicles are frequently disabled by suspects, rendering them ineffective. The after-market tracker may assist police in locating the vehicle and/or suspects.
  • Ensure all keys are accounted for and never left in the vehicle or unattended.
  • Lock your vehicle at all times.
  • Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
  • Consider purchasing a surveillance system and ensure the quality and function will capture any suspicious activity for 24 hours.      

If you observe suspicious people in your neighbourhood who are looking into vehicles, we encourage you to call police immediately. This will assist investigators in tracking patterns of criminal behaviour and potentially identifying suspects.

A crime in progress can be reported by calling 9-1-1. Any non-emergency incidents can be reported by calling 519-570-9777. 

WA23029569 (913) 

Media Inquiries:
Waterloo Regional Police Service
Public Information Unit
519-570-9777 (WRPS) ext. 8188

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