A 2017 model of Toyota Highlander, owned by one Ahmad Abdallah, who is based in Toronto, Canada, was allegedly stolen from his residence in September 2021 but is now found in Lagos, Nigeria.
According to CTV News, an online news platform based in Toronto, Abdallah found his vehicle sitting in a lot in a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria in a video.
Abdallah had thought he would never see the vehicle again because he admitted that the operation was too well-organized, too well-resourced and too professional to be tracked.
What CTV News found
It stated, “When Ahmad Abdallah’s SUV disappeared from his street last September, he thought he would never see it again.
“He looked for clues in surveillance video of the thieves unlocking his 2017 Toyota Highlander and driving off in seconds but concluded they were too well-organized, too well-resourced and too professional to be tracked.
“More than six months later, CTV News Investigates was able to find his vehicle—sitting in a lot in a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria. After seeing video of his own car for sale overseas, Abdallah realized how truly organized the criminals who stole his car may actually be.”
Abdallah reportedly said, “I got a call from you. You sent me a picture of my car. Oh, it blew my mind. This is clearly a big operation. There should be more people looking into it…we’re talking millions of dollars. This has to be taken seriously.”
What you should know about similar theft
Abdallah’s case is only one out of other car thefts across cities in Canada, especially in the Toronto area. The organisers of such crimes usually take advantage of low-risk, high-profit opportunities to sell Canadian cars to markets in the Middle East and Africa.
- Peel Regional Police claims that auto theft is up 63% over last year. In Toronto, it’s up 59% with more than 2,000 cars stolen so far this year in the city.
- According to CTV News, Lochab’s 2016 Honda Pilot was stolen one night in February from his Brampton driveway.
- “They started the car and drove back and poof—disappeared,” he said. “I’m still in shock.”
- Surveillance video of the incident shows two thieves walking up to his car in the middle of a snowstorm. Within 15 seconds they have unlocked the door. Within another minute, the car has started and they’re on their way.
- Lochab couldn’t believe how easy it was. And when he asked around, he found out how common it was as well. “Within this community, I heard 57 vehicles had been stolen,” he said.
- Michael Slack of Equite Association, an agency that seeks to clamp down on insurance fraud, said across the country he had seen a 24 per cent increase in reports of stolen vehicles, with about 4,000 so far taken in Ontario alone.
- “It still continues to grow. A lot of that is there’s high profits with little risk associated with this. It’s not like criminal ventures like drug trafficking and weapons smuggling,” Slack said.
- Police in the GTA have busted several crime rings, pulling stolen cars out of shipping containers seized on their way out of the country, including Peel Regional Police’s Project High Five, which recovered 200 stolen vehicles worth an estimated $11 million and resulted in 24 people charged.
- York Regional Police recovered 50 stolen vehicles worth $50 million in Project Extinction in January, charging seven people. In February, Toronto police charged another seven people with 40 counts in Project Taurus, alleging the suspects were also responsible for at least 28 carjackings.