A man is facing charges this week after an auto theft team from the Edmonton Police Service recovered 19 stolen vehicles from a warehouse in St. Albert.
On May 13, members of the Edmonton Police Service and its targeted response to auto theft prevention (TRAP) team recovered 19 stolen vehicles from a warehouse in St. Albert, EPS said in a statement released Aug. 5.
"On May 12, 2022, while investigating the theft of a 2022 Ford Expedition, the EPS TRAP team went to an address in St. Albert, the last known GPS location of the stolen vehicle," the release states. "Upon arrival, the team observed several newer vehicles within a fenced compound, as well as several shipping containers with vehicles inside them.
"On May 13, 2022, TRAP, with the assistance of the RCMP Auto Theft Unit and Équité Association, executed a search warrant at the property. In total, 19 stolen vehicles were recovered, some of which had falsified vehicle identification numbers (VINs). Additional false VIN labels were also seized."
EPS did not specify where in St. Albert the warehouse was located.
The investigation also led to the recovery of four stolen vehicles in Montreal that were about to be shipped overseas, EPS said in the statement. The combined value of the 23 vehicles is $1,095,000, according to the EPS release.
Alain Damen, 33, turned himself in to EPS on Aug. 4, the release says. EPS have not said where Damen lives.
Damen has been charged with 18 counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000; one count of possession of stolen property under $5,000; five counts of fraudulent concealment; and six charges relating to the altering or removal of a vehicle's VIN, EPS said
“The victims affected by this operation included everyone from private citizens whose vehicles were stolen from their garages to insurance companies whose vehicles were fraudulently rented,” Sgt. Ian Strom, with the EPS TRAP team, said in the release.
“We are just scraping the surface with these recoveries, and are continuing to investigate other locations connected to the accused.”