Police recover 31 stolen and unlawfully towed vehicles in GTA

Project Bondar results in 31 recovered vehicles

Toronto, ON (Jan. 9, 2020) – An eight-week project focusing on tow truck companies in the Greater Toronto Area has resulted in the recovery of 31 vehicles and more than 250 charges.

The Durham Regional Police Intelligence Branch, Traffic Services and several other units began Project Bondar in October of 2019. The focus of the project was to ensure compliance with legislation and also to meet with and educate tow truck providers on best practices and consumer protection laws.

The DRPS had received numerous complaints from motorists who said they were charged exorbitant fees for towing their vehicles after collisions. Other complaints included vehicles stolen from private property and storage yards charging a high fee to release previously towed vehicles.

The team executed eight Criminal Code search warrants in Brampton, Scarborough, Etobicoke, Ajax, Clarington, Pickering and Whitby. The team recovered 31 vehicles, some of which were stolen and others were unlawfully towed. They had a value of approximately $900,000, including two luxury vehicles (Ferrari 488 and BMW M4) and eight tow trucks, two of which were burnt. The project team laid 92 Consumer Protection Act charges, 149 various Provincial Offences Act charges and 17 Criminal Code charges.

The DRPS would like to thank the numerous partners who assisted in this project, including the Insurance Bureau of Canada, major insurance companies, the Toronto Police Service, the O.P.P. and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

To protect yourself, Durham police offer the following tips:

  • Know what your insurance policy covers. See if you have roadside assistance coverage and what the limits are. If you’ve been in a collision, find out how your car insurance company handles towing and how much your insurer will cover.
  • Don’t let a towing operator take your vehicle until you view a Government of Ontario Towing Consumer Bill of Rights. You should be shown a towing and storage rate sheet listing towing fees, daily storage fees (if any), and all other miscellaneous charges.
  • You should be given a copy of an ‘Authorization to Tow’ form that includes where your vehicle will be towed to as well as the driver’s name and contact information.
  • Make sure that the company name on the town truck matches the documentation and do not agree to a demand for a cash payment to release your vehicle without consulting your insurance company first.
  • Do not give out your insurance information. Some fraudulent tow operators use this information for additional scams, like calling the victim and pretending to be their insurer or providing it to a health practitioner.
  • If you suspect fraud or if the tow truck driver refuses to leave, call the police.

For more information about this project, please contact the Intelligence Branch of the DRPS at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5800.

Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or on the website at www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca. Tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, contributes $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For more information, visit www.ibc.ca.

Source: Ontario Provincial Police via Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)

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