What Happens to Stolen Cars, the Victims and the Thieves
What Happens to Stolen Cars?
Stolen cars usually end up in one of the following places:
About 50% of stolen vehicles end up in "chop shops,” where stolen cars are dismantled into parts to be sold off separately, often to legitimate businesses unaware the parts are stolen. This is a big business that accounts for millions of dollars a year in profits for criminals.
Each year, tens of thousands of cars are stolen for export to other countries where they can be sold for many times their original market value. In some cases, these cars are recovered at Canadian ports before they reach their intended destinations. IBC is actively working on having CBSA take a more active role in preventing these vehicles from leaving Canada.
Many stolen cars are taken to commit another crime. Thieves take advantage of owner negligence, grabbing the first vehicle they can find. Why would criminals risk using their own cars when they can very easily use a car that’s been left running in a driveway?
Sometimes, thieves take cars just because they can or because they want them for transportation. It used to be called “joyriding,” but that term takes away from the seriousness of the crime. Auto thieves have no regard for people or property and often vandalize then abandon the cars that they steal.
Every year, hundreds of unassuming consumers buy stolen cars and face having their new cars seized by police. Stolen cars are often sold for a quick profit – sometimes to fund other criminal activity like drug smuggling and even terrorism. Thieves mask the true identity of a stolen vehicle by changing its vehicle identification number (VIN).
A consumer who unknowingly purchases a stolen car has no recourse, and no way to get his or her money back.
Everyone is a victim of auto theft, whether they have had a car stolen or not.
Regrettably the courts still look at auto theft with more compassionate eyes. Of course, some of their hands are tied by the restrictions within the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
IBC has been working to make the courts aware of the impact of auto theft – that it is not a victimless crime. Additionally, IBC has also been actively advocating for changes to the criminal code to have auto theft treated as a violent and indictable offense.