Organized Crime – Chopped cars put public at risk





They look good from far, but they’re far from good.

Police have busted a major crime ring involving high-end vehicles that were allegedly patched up and re-sold to unsuspecting buyers.

A three-year joint investigation involving the Toronto Police, Niagara Regional Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Enforcement Unit culminated this week with the arrest of several men in the Greater Toronto Area.

Project Enterprise targeted the alleged fraudulent issuance of structural certificates for rebuilt vehicles and the sale of the salvaged cars.

Auto theft is a major issue that affects all of us,” said Insp. Gord Jones, at a media conference at Traffic Services headquarters on Feb 16.

“There are no financial boundaries and, quite frankly, it’s big business and we all pay for it.”

Jones encouraged buyers to do their due diligence before purchasing vehicles.

“When you are spending a lot of money, you want to explore all options,” he said.

“There are a number of agencies that can help you with that.”

Niagara Regional Police Supt. Cliff Sexton also spoke at the press conference.

“Our organization is very committed, as the rest of the agencies are, to public safety,” he said.

“(The arrests) send a strong message to the criminals in our community who are motivated by greed and put public safety at risk. Through the public pooling of resources and our dedication and communication, we were able to bring this to a successful conclusion.”

One of the refurbished vehicles that police showed off to the media was a BMW 525 XI.

“This is a salvaged car from the United States that was involved in a severe collision and the only part of the car that was still good was the front end,” said Det. Const. Jason Hodkin, of Traffic Services.

“They kept the front end which was salvageable and used a stolen rear end to attach it.”

The rear end came from a vehicle that was involved in a major collision in the U.S and was written off for scrap.

Giovanni Bellisario, Osvaldo Savia, David De Oliveira, Gabor Toth and John Keen face nearly 500 charges, ranging from property obtained by crime to uttering forged documents.

Keen owned and operated a body shop – Downtown Collision – at 165 Geary Ave. while Savia was the operator of Car Care Centre at 24 Eddystone Ave. The accused, who were granted licenses by the Ministry of Transportation to operate Structural Inspection stations, allegedly entered into an agreement with Bellisario – an insurance appraiser – who provided them with structural certificates. De Oliveira is the sole owner of Prestige Collision at 62 Shaft Rd.

 Credit:  Toronto Police