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Local vehicle cloning investigation leads to charges in Calgary

Image Credit: (SOURCE/RCMP)
February 19, 2013 - 3:28 PM

West Kelowna RCMP played an important role in the recent arrest of two members of the Southland chapter of Hells Angels linked to last year's Cycle Logic vehicle cloning ring investigation.

Mounties conducted the investigation in the summer of 2012, leading to the recovery of two vehicles reported stolen in British Columbia that were given new vehicle identification numbers (cloned) before being registered in Alberta.

Const. Kris Clark of the Kelowna detachment says the two people charged in relation to the case are Nigel Bruce Huggett, 41, of Calgary and Benjamin Kristopher Wilken, 30, of Blackfalds. Each is charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000.

Background:

In March 2012 RCMP investigated Cycle Logic located at 2520 Juliann Rd. in West Kelowna, believing the business might be modifying vehicle identification numbers (VIN) on stolen vehicles, trailers and machinery. They eventually recovered a stolen vehicle in a compound behind the business. Later, a stolen truck was discovered parked on the street in front of Cycle Logic along with two stolen trailers and a miniature excavator that was parked a short distance away.

The crime team secured a search warrant following additional surveillance of the business and the owner's residence. During the search, police examined VIN's on items at both properties, including vehicles, trailers, boats, motorcycles, ATV's. They also delved into the activities of various crime organizations such as the Southland (Calgary) chapter of Hells Angels, along with the Nanaimo chapter and the Throttle Lockers and Kingpin Crew from Kelowna.

Three vehicles were recovered from members of the Southland chapter of Hells Angels and charges were laid. Two of the vehicles were stolen in British Columbia but cloned and registered in Alberta.

On Aug. 2, 2012, search warrants were executed again on both properties and police found a large number of stolen items. They also discovered a marijuana grow operation at the owner's residence in Peachland. Police say the value of seized property intended for the trafficking operation was estimated in excess of $750,000.

According to RCMP, the cloning process works as follows:

  • A motor vehicle is stolen or obtained by fraud
  • Culprits then search for a vehicle that is similar in colour, year, make and model in another province or country
  • The VIN from the other jurisdiction is incorporated into a new VIN plate and federal standards decal, which are then placed on the vehicle that was stolen or obtained by fraud
  • Culprits then attend an inspection facility for an out of province inspection form
  • A forged bill of sale and the out of province inspection form are then presented to a registry office and the vehicle is registered
  • The vehicle now has a new identity and is offered for sale to an unsuspecting buyer

Police encourage consumers to take the following steps prior to purchasing an motor vehicle:

  • Ask for and take note of government issued identification from the seller
  • Do a Carproof or Carfax check on the vehicle. If the vehicle is showing as being registered in another province or country, ask more questions. If the vehicle is showing a salvage of junk title, ask more questions
  • Look at the public VIN (lower left dashboard) and compare how the VIN looks to another similar vehicle i.e. Ford to Ford
  • Compare the public VIN to the federal certification label on the driver's door frame. The VIN should be the same. The decal should not show any signs of peeling
  • Take the vehicle to a car dealership and have them conduct checks. Take Ford products to a Ford dealership etc.
  • Check the VIN with www.cpic-cpic.ca to see if the vehicle is listed as stolen
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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