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Ottawa Seeing Upswing in Car Thefts, With Toyota-Lexus Most Popular Targets

If you live in the Ottawa region and you own a Lexus, make sure your insurance is in order. Seems your brand is top of the wish-list for car thieves in the area.

Ottawa police has announced that the number of reported thefts of luxury vehicles has exploded in comparison with last year. Since the beginning of 2018, in fact, 34 high-end vehicle thefts have been reported to police. In all of 2017, that number only reached 12.

If this trend holds through the end of the year, it works out to a five-fold increase.

And what are theft rings targeting? They seem to know what they want , in any case. Many of the vehicles being stolen carry the Toyota or Lexus badge, with the most popular models being the Toyota 4Runner and Highlander SUVs and the Lexus GX and RX models.

That these specific models are targets is no surprise – they show up on the list every year.

Authorities believe they’re dealing with a professional organization operating on an international scale. The stolen vehicles end up in Montreal before being shipped to Africa or the Middle East.

The case of one woman is particularly incredible. Last Father’s Day weekend, Gail Downey had her vehicle stolen, as did her neighbour. Five days later, the replacement Lexus she’s been lent was itself stolen, as was her husband’s… a 2016 Lexus.

Her Lexus was eventually found in Laval, Quebec, a few weeks after its disappearance.

Gail Downey believes that the criminals use a laptop and some type of device to take control of the key fob, allowing them to use it to unlock and start the vehicle remotely.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has published figures showing that the most-stolen vehicle in Canada last year was the GX 460. Ironically, this model is not actually a top seller for the brand.

Photo: D.Boshouwers