Investigators with the Laval Police Dept. have announced that on Dec. 15 they finally caught up and arrested several players involved in a Laval-based stolen car ring that was exporting hot vehicles to overseas destinations.
It’s worth noting that car thefts in Laval rose a staggering 84 per cent in just the first nine first months of 2022.
In 2021, according to the LPD, 686 vehicles were stolen in Laval.
To date this year, the number has risen to 1,557, and that figure is considered conservative since the last three months of this year aren’t taken into account.
If they haven’t yet been shipped out of the country, the cars end up at clandestine garages in places surrounding the Laval and Montreal regions. Last week, LPD investigators executed search and seizure warrants in Sainte-Sophie, Saint-Calixte, Mont-Tremblant, Sainte-Julienne and Montreal.
Six suspects were arrested, while a dozen or so vehicles were impounded, including a Ram pickup truck, a Jeep Sahara, a boat, six trailers, materials for disguising thefts, $50,000 cash USD and CAD, and 53 tires with sport mags.
At one of the raided locations in Montreal, the investigators found shipping containers, leading them to believe that stolen vehicles were being prepared and loaded onto ships from there. Currently, the vehicles stolen most often in Laval are Honda CR-V, Acura RDX, Ram 1500, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Durango.
The police believe the modus operandi of the perpetrators was typically to open the vehicles manually with a hand tool, cut the alarm, use an electronic device to clone a copy of the starter key, after which they started the engine and left the scene, all in just a few minutes with a minimum of damage.
The LPD released the following names of suspects who were arrested: Pascal Lafleur and Nicolas Dufour, who were freed on bail, while Frédéric Caron, Raymond Abdelshaheed and Alexandre Jalbert were detained pending further bail proceedings.
Fire heavily damages Saint-Martin Blvd. residential multiplex
During the early morning hours of Saturday Dec. 10, a fire caused extensive damage to a multi-storey residential condo building at the western end of Saint-Martin Blvd. in Sainte-Dorothée.
While the cause hasn’t yet been determined, investigators know that a smoke detector system in the building was operational. In the meantime, it is believed the source of the fire was on the first floor.
The blaze required assistance from nine units from the Laval Fire Dept., for a total of 34 firefighters. Help from the Laval Police, Hydro Quebec, the Société de transport de Laval (STL) and City of Laval public works was also requested.
An early estimate of the damage estimated it at $300,000 for the building and $100,000 for materials inside. Eight residents were looking for new lodgings following the blaze, and the investigation has been transferred to the Laval Police since arson hasn’t been completely ruled out.
Arsonist targets Jaffa St. building linked to Accurso
A fire at a commercial building on Jaffa St. in Laval last week was one of two in the Montreal region which broke out at buildings owned by the spouse of the daughter of controversial public works contractor Tony Accurso.
Just before midnight, the Laval Police responded to a call about a fire at 1410 rue de Jaffa next to Autoroute 15. According to news sources, the office building is partly owned by companies belonging to Karol Fortin, husband of Accurso’s daughter.
At this fire, as well as at another in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu south of Montreal around the same time, investigators found traces of fire accelerants used by arsonists. A spokesperson for the LPD confirmed that at the rue de Jaffa address, an incendiary device (a Molotov cocktail) was thrown at the building’s front south-east window.