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Seizure of 99 stolen vehicle keys prevented $4-million in thefts, police say

If you own a high-end vehicle and live in the GTA, you might want to send a thank you note to York Regional Police. They may be the only reason why it’s not on a barge to eastern Europe or Africa right now.
 
They said they have seized stolen vehicle keys they believe prevented about $4-million in potential thefts. Investigators with the auto-cargo theft unit spent two months on the case.
 
They started out looking at house break-ins in which vehicles were stolen. That led to the execution of eight search warrants across the GTA and the seizure of 99 luxury vehicle keys, various disguises and a police scanner. They also recovered a Maserati, a Range Rover and a Lexus SUV worth about $250,000.
 
Detective Paul Lasalle told 680News the recovered keys were likely stolen between the factory and delivery to the new owner.

The thieves would track the vehicle and in the middle of the night go to the house and take it out of the driveway. He said this was a steal to order operation. If the suspects couldn’t find a vehicle for which they already had a key, they would go “shopping” through upscale neighbourhoods across the GTA to find it.
 
“They would break in in the middle of the night while people were sleeping, search through their hallways for the keys and enter the garage and take their vehicles right from the garage,” Det. Lasalle explained.
 
He said demand for high-end stolen vehicles is high in Eastern Europe and Africa and has been for the past several years.
 
Andrzej Zalewski, 33, of Toronto, is due in a Newmarket court Friday charged with offences that include break and enter and possession of property obtained by crime. A second suspect is expected to be arrested in a matter of days and more arrests are possible.

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