With over 4,000 pieces of stolen property in their possession, following an investigation launched in December 2013, the Toronto Police Service – for the first time ever – has set up a website to reunite owners with their property.
Detective David Zajac of 32 Division Major Crime Unit said this is the most property he has ever seen recovered during an investigation.
“We just couldn’t lay them out on a table for display because there are just too many things,” he said. “Break-and-enter victims can go to the website, take their time and look over the items. The program will allow them to fill in information which is then sent to our investigators through a private and secure process.”
Zajac assured victims that investigators will contact every one of them.
Project Yellowbird was initiated nearly a year ago after a yellow Porsche Carrera was stolen from a North Toronto residence during a severe ice storm in the city. The project team comprised officers from 32, 53 and 22 divisions.
“We worked together out of 32 Division in a project room and we had the assistance of Intel, the Mobile Unit and York Regional Police,” Zajac said. It is the first time Toronto Police have laid organized crime charges in connection with property crimes.
Of the 43 cars stolen, 23 have been recovered and another 12 located.
“We are in the process of identifying those that have been located and trying to get them back,” he added. “The average price of these cars is well over $100,000.”
The stolen cars, that include Mercedes, Audis, Aston Martins and BMWs, were shipped to several European countries.
A total of nine people, including three women, were arrested and charged with various offences.
Four of the accused were granted bail while the other five are still in custody.
Zajac said the investigation is ongoing and further charges are expected to be laid against the accused.
“The Service is dedicated and committed to solving property crime,” said Zajac. “It affects the personal safety of our citizens in this city.”
At a press conference at 32 Division on August 29, police displayed some of the stolen property that included World War 1 medals, watches, a 150-year-old bible, a bottle of Dom Perignon, iPads and laptop computers.