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ServiceOntario Employees Involved With Suspects In Auto Theft Spree: Toronto Police

The suspects were collaborating with ServiceOntario employees who purportedly trafficked driving and vehicle data from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation database.

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Toronto police have arrested seven individuals and more than 70 charges in an ongoing investigation into auto theft. The alleged involvement of ServiceOntario employees collaborating with the suspects has been uncovered.

Initiated in February 2023, Project Safari aimed to “identify and apprehend members of a suspected auto theft ring responsible for numerous motor vehicle thefts throughout the city.”

According to police findings, the suspects were collaborating with ServiceOntario employees who purportedly trafficked driving and vehicle data from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation database. The ServiceOntario employees would allegedly supply the suspects with vehicle and driver information, including addresses, enabling the subsequent theft of vehicles.

In addition to this, ServiceOntario employees were accused of providing the accused individuals with fraudulent vehicle registrations and vehicle identification numbers (VIN). The alleged suspects would then engage in “re-vining,” placing the fraudulent VIN on the stolen vehicle linked to the fraudulent registration to make it appear legitimate.

Toronto police claim that these vehicles were either sold domestically to unsuspecting buyers as used vehicles or used to carry out other criminal activities.

The investigation, spanning from July 2023 to October 2023, resulted in the execution of as many as 25 search warrants on residences, commercial garages, ServiceOntario branches, and vehicles. Stolen and “re-vinned” vehicles were discovered, along with equipment, tools, and electronics utilized by the suspects in carrying out auto thefts.

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Search warrants also indicated that the number of individuals whose data had been trafficked numbered in the hundreds. In total, investigators seized over $1.5 million worth of proceeds of crime, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and several luxury vehicles.

On a recent Wednesday, police identified seven individuals charged as part of the investigation. Keerthan Mangaleswaran, 29, of Toronto, faces multiple offenses, including 12 counts of tampering with VINs, seven counts of possession of property obtained by crime exceeding $5,000, and four counts of obstructing a police officer, among other charges. Mangaleswaran was expected to appear in court on September 22, 2023.

A Toronto man and woman, Gobi Yogarajah, 25, and Milosha Ariyaratnam, 29, were also charged as part of the investigation. They face similar charges, including possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. Ariyaratnam faces 11 counts of tampering with VINs, while Yogarajah was charged with purchasing an automobile master key, possession of a break-and-enter instrument, and tampering with a VIN. Both were expected to appear in court on separate dates.

Other suspects identified in this investigation are

  • Kajan Jokanajakam, 32, of Oshawa (obstructing justice)

  • Howard Lee, 25, of Markham (fraud and other related offences)

  • Doneika Jackson, 38, of Toronto (identify information trafficking and breach of trust)

  • Andrea Fernandes, 30, of Vaughan (identify information trafficking and breach of trust)

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