Vehicle thefts, especially from rural properties, climbing again: OPP
Published Wednesday, August 14, 2019 6:03PM EDT
The Ontario Provincial Police say vehicle thefts are spiking again, with many being taken from rural properties.
In fact, a pickup truck was discovered abandoned on the CTV London property on Tuesday. It's believed the vehicle was stolen from a property in Perth County.
The 4 X 4 pickup was driven into the deep grass on the south London grounds and abandoned, likely dumped early in the morning.
Const. Ed Sanchuk of Norfolk County OPP says many of the vehicles are being taken from rural areas.
"While the farmers are out there on the farm fields, whether on the tractor or the combine, you look inside the vehicle and you see keys in the cup holder, above the sun visor or in the ignition."
It's not uncommon for farm families to leave keys in the vehicles overnight, hanging on to a time when theft was rarely an issue, but Sanchuk says there are now larger concerns when it comes to vehicle thefts.
"Nine out of 10 vehicles that are stolen, people need to realize that they're used in other criminal activities, such as robberies, thefts, break and enters, and even human trafficking."
He says even if the vehicle is just used for a joyride, a thorough investigation has to be done and that requires significant police resources.
A canine unit had to be brought in for the vehicle found on the CTV property and last September a stolen vehicle resulted in a large-scale manhunt just east of London after two suspects abandoned the car and ran into a woodlot.
Sanchuk says while there's a price we all pay when it comes to these vehicle theft investigations, he says there could be an even bigger price to be paid by the vehicle owner.
"That owner could be held civilly responsible. There is some case law in place right now where a thief actually stole a vehicle and, as a result of becoming involved in a collision, actually did sue the owner."
Sanchuk says there are technologies like remote engine kill switches and GPS tracking devices which can be used, but the most powerful deterrent is the simplest, "Fifty per cent of those vehicle can be prevented from being stolen simply by pocketing your keys."