OTTAWA — Police in Ottawa have charged three Montreal men in relation the several vehicle thefts that occurred from late February to early March. According to a press release from the police service, the charged persons allegedly targeted Toyota and Lexus Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) and trucks parked in their owner’s driveways. In order to get into the vehicles, sophisticated technology was required to program new keys.
To date, twenty vehicles have been recovered including four at the Port of Montreal and three elsewhere in Quebec but believed to be destined for export at the Port of Montreal. Subsequently, 25-year-old Omar Sahlia, 22-year-old Honoris Joseph, and 26-year-old Abderazak Achab were charged with several criminal charges including Theft of motor vehicle, Possession of break-in instrument, Possession of a device to use a computer system, mischief, and mischief to data.
Sahlia and Joseph were released with conditions and a date to appear in court. Achab remains in custody awaiting a court date. The investigation is still ongoing. However, police are reminding the public to take precaution in order to protect their vehicles.
“Vehicle thefts happen fast, oftentimes overnight, leaving the owner unaware until hours later. It’s an issue that patrol officers and investigators have been working on together this year to bring to a stop,” said a spokesperson.
Additionally, police say that if any Lexus/Toyota SUV owners notice new or fresh damage to the driver’s side door handle or observe someone taking photos of their dashboard Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), they should report it to the Ottawa Police.
Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.