York Regional Police (YRP) have arrested and charged four people in connection with an investigation into the organized theft, re-vinning and trafficking of stolen vehicles at an auto shop in Vaughan.
Re-vinning refers to the practice of stealing a vehicle and putting what appears to be a legitimate vehicle identification number (VIN) on the front dash, then selling it to a third party who is unaware of the vehicle’s origins.
Police say the investigation began last month and focused on the Royal Customs auto shop on Ritin Lane in Vaughan, which police suspected was being used for trafficking stolen vehicles.
Last week, YRP officers executed a search warrant at the shop and at the home of one of the suspects, leading to the arrest of four people and the location of several stolen vehicles.
Police found two Range Rovers, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a 2022 Mercedes G Wagon AMG valued at $350,000.
“Officers also located licence plates, re-vinning equipment, documents for changing vehicle registrations, multiple key fobs for reprogramming and three semi-automatic handguns with magazines and ammunition,” YRP said in a press release.
Christian Pangan, 27, Kevin Abaya, 29, Chrisjann Doria, 23, all of Toronto, and Shawn Starr, 25, of East Gwillimbury have collectively been charged with 10 offences, including possession of property obtained by crime and possession of a restricted firearm.
YRP say there’s been an increase in vehicle thefts over the past several years and urge the public to follow these safety tips:
- “If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage, as the majority of the vehicles have been stolen from driveways.
- Use a steering wheel lock. It will also act as a visible deterrent.
- Install a lock on the data port. This simple device can be purchased online and blocks access to the computer port where the thieves gain access to reprogram the vehicle’s keys.
- Consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system. Ensure cameras are properly placed and functioning for day and night time use. Familiarize yourself with the system so it can be reviewed and accessed immediately.”