Calgary, AB,

Auto Theft Team arrests 54 offenders

The Calgary Police Service Auto Theft Team (ATT) gears up as the temperatures start to drop.

Over the past three months, the ATT charged 53 offenders with 251 criminal code charges related to stolen vehicles, possession of stolen property, weapons offences, drug possession and failing to comply with release conditions. At the time of arrest, the 53 offenders were wanted on a total of 211 warrants on unrelated crimes.

Investigators in the ATT recovered 44 stolen vehicles during the past three months, valued at over $1.1 million. These statistics do not include the hundreds of other vehicles recovered by members of patrol.

“The offenders that we are arresting in stolen vehicles are more often that not involved in multiple other crimes,” says Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley of the CPS District Support Unit. “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.”

Last night alone, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, officers in the ATT located and arrested an auto theft offender wanted on 62 outstanding criminal warrants for previous offences. Upon arrest, the offender was charged with 13 additional offences including theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, possession of break and enter tools, fleeing from police and various breach of condition charges.

As temperatures drop, offenders will be out looking for easy vehicles to steal and the Service wants citizens to help reduce crimes of opportunity.

Citizens should to the following to help prevent their vehicle from being stolen and used in the commission other crimes:

  • Never leave a running vehicle unattended, if the keys are inside the vehicle or if the vehicle has been started with a keyless ignition or push-button start.
  • Use a remote starter whenever possible and keep your vehicle locked.
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
  • Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle.
  • Never leave children or pets in a running vehicle.
  • Do not leave valuables, including identity documents and bank cards, in a vehicle.
  • Report suspicious activity to police immediately by calling 403-266-1234 or 9-1-1 for crimes in progress.

The Calgary Police Service is preparing to run Operation Cold Start in the coming weeks to educate citizens on how quickly vehicles can be stolen when they are left running with the keys inside.