54 arrested in 3-month rash of Calgary vehicle thefts

54 arrested in 3-month rash of Calgary vehicle thefts
Auto theft investigation results in 54 arrests and hundreds of charges
Calgary police have recovered dozens of vehicles and arrested 54 offenders following a three month investigation into auto thefts in the city.

The Auto Theft Team recovered 44 stolen vehicles over the last few months and officials say the vehicles are valued at over $1.1 million.

One of the suspects was arrested Wednesday night, police said. That man was wanted on 62 outstanding warrants for previous offences and is now facing 13 additional charges including theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property and fleeing from police.

Calgary police auto theft team recovers stolen vehicles worth $1.1M

54 offenders were arrested and 53 of them are facing a total of 251 charges related to stolen vehicles, possession of stolen property, weapons offences, drug possession and failing to comply with release conditions.

The other 53 suspects are facing a total of 251 Criminal Code charges related to stolen vehicles, stolen property and drug and weapons offences. Calgary police said the 53 suspects were wanted on a total of 211 outstanding warrants at the time of their arrest.

We see any combination of offenders stealing vehicles for the purpose of using that vehicle as a transaction piece and very often its the keys that are actually the transaction piece, more so than the vehicle itself, said Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley of the CPS District Support Unit. Their keys, when left in the vehicle, can be trading hands a number of times by numerous criminals and those criminals could be responsible for some of what weve discussed here regarding things like break and enters, drug offences and other property offences.

In Calgary, offenders use stolen vehicles as a means to facilitate other crimes that can cause great risk to the public. Members of our auto theft team, as well as our front-line patrol officers, see this concerning activity on a daily basis.

On Wednesday, police arrested one offender who they say was wanted on 62 warrants for previous offences and that the person is now facing an additional 13 charges.

Theres actually numerous other arrests made by our patrol members as well in relation to stolen vehicles, its a daily occurrence for us. What our Auto Theft Team is doing is trying to target the most prolific offenders and try and have the greatest impact on the auto theft issues and we see that but when we arrest people that have more charges, as is evidenced by what were releasing today, theres more opportunity for them to spent time in custody and for us to make a greater impact, Smiley added.

Police say offenders are out looking for easy vehicles to steal and that auto thefts increase with the colder weather.

Over the past three months, Calgary police have arrested a total of 54 people after vehicles worth $1.1 million were stolen in the southern Alberta city.

We see everything from an organized effort to a crime of opportunity and that crime of opportunity is one were trying to capitalize on today with the messaging around leaving your vehicle running and the crime of opportunity just occurs to that criminal because they see it running in the driveway or at the local convenience store or what have you, said Smiley.

Due to the sensitive and/or legal subject matter of some of the content on globalnews.ca, we reserve the ability to disable comments from time to time.

People can report suspicious activity to police by calling 403-266-1234 or 911 for crimes in progress.

Calgary police are gearing up for Operation Cold Start to educate citizens on how quickly vehicles can be stolen when they are left running with the keys inside. (File photo)

A U.S. federal judge has blocked TransCanadas Keystone XL pipeline, ruling that the Trump administration failed to properly consider environmental concerns when it approved the project.

The Calgary police auto theft team recovered 44 stolen vehicles worth more than $1.1 million during the past four months, officials said Thursday.

Officers on the auto theft team charged 53 suspects with 251 criminal offences related to stolen vehicles, possession of stolen property, weapons offences, drug possession and failing to comply with release conditions, police said.

"The offenders that we are arresting in stolen vehicles are more often than not involved in multiple other crimes," said Staff Sgt. Graeme Smiley.

"In Calgary, offenders use stolen vehicles as a means to facilitate other crimes that can cause great risk to the public. Members of our auto theft team, as well as our frontline patrol officers, see this concerning activity on a daily basis."

Police are reminding Calgarians that as temperatures drop, thieves will be out looking for easy targets.

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.