Nine Ontario residents have been charged after the investigation into a theft from a Langford store led police to a national crime organization believed to be trafficking stolen goods from across Canada.
“What started off as investigating a relatively simple theft led to the uncovering of a massive national stolen goods trafficking ring and recovering over $250,000 of stolen property,” said Cpl. Fred Ritchie, West Shore RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit, in a statement.
Earlier this summer the West Shore RCMP asked for the public’s help in identifying two female suspects believed to behind the theft of more than $3,000 worth of high-end cosmetics from a Lanford Shoppers Drug Mart.
Investigators from West Shore RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit identified similar thefts involving thousands of dollars in cosmetics at Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Sidney and Saanich. The suspects were believed to be the two women sought in the Langford theft, along with a male suspect.
After collecting surveillance footage, officers were able to identify the male suspect, who has a home in Markham, Ont.
“Our investigators determined that theft was being committed in our jurisdiction by suspects that did not live here. That’s when we contacted York Regional Police and sought assistance in our investigation. York Regional Police monitored the address in Markham, Ontario, and observed boxes filled with stolen items from all over Canada were being delivered,” explained Ritchie.
Investigators with the York Regional Police Integrated Property Crime Task Force, working with the West Shore RCMP, have arrested and charged nine people believed to be part of an organized crime group with ties to numerous thefts and the trafficking of items across Canada.
Through the course of the investigation, officers learned thefts had taken place across B.C., Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, with the stolen items shipped back to the main location on Havagal Crescent in Markham. Several other locations, including storages facilities, were connected to the suspects. After executing search warrants, more than $250,000 in stolen property was recovered, including cosmetics, perfume, health care products, smoke alarms, electric hand tools and many other items. More than $67,000 in cash was also seized.
The nine individuals charged had the City of Markham or the Town of Milton listed as their area of residence and ranged in age from 26 to 40. They were charged with participation in a criminal organization, trafficking in property obtained by crime over $5,000, and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.
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