Ottawa sees luxury car theft spike, especially among Lexuses

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Ottawa police say the rate of luxury car thefts in the city has jumped fivefold versus last year, going from a total 12 in 2017; to 34 vehicles this year so far.

The thieves seem to be targeting Lexuses and high-end Toyota models, specifically the Toyota 4Runner and Highlander and Lexus RX and GX Series, police told CTV News Ottawa.

“According to police, it’s a ring of thieves, international thieves,” CTV quoted Marnie Bennett, who had her Lexus stolen two months ago. “And they take them over to Montreal and then ship them over to Africa and the Middle East.”

The thieves nabbed her car on Father’s Day weekend, along with neighbour Gail Downey’s 2017 Lexus. Fifty days later, Downey’s 2018 replacement Lexus, as well as her husband’s 2016 Lexus, were together swiped from her driveway, too.

Her 2017 was recovered in Laval, Quebec a few weeks after it was stolen.

Downey says encasing the cars’ key fobs in protective guards didn’t seem to help, suggesting the thieves may be using a “relay box” and a laptop to digitally trick the keys into starting the vehicle remotely.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, last year the most stolen vehicle in the country was the 2015 Lexus GX 460.

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