A Vancouver man has been arrested for stealing cars and reselling them on Craigslist with assumed vehicle identification numbers.
Police allege the man purchased scrap cars with valid identification numbers, removed the cars' number plates and then disposed of the worthless vehicles.
He would then allegedly steal a similar car, exchange the car's identification number and sell the cars on Craigslist to unsuspecting buyers.
Jonathan Allan Duck, 24, has been arrested and charged with three count of fraud over $5,000, one count of fraud under $5,000 and two counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000.
Police began their investigation in April when someone recognized their Toyota 4Runner that had been stolen a week earlier. Police determined the truck had been registered with an identification number obtained from a scrapped 4Runner of the same make and year.
Then in early June, investigators learned of a second stolen truck, this time a Toyota Tacoma, that had been advertised and sold on Craigslist. The Tacoma had taken on the identity of a scrapped truck that was destroyed by a fire.
Signs a car may be stolen:
- Do the VIN numbers match on engine, door, or dashboard?
- Do the vehicle's VIN numbers match the registration?
- Do any of the VINs show signs of tampering, scratch marks or glue?
- Does the VIN match the actual year of the car?
A third car being advertised for sale on Craigslist was identified a week later, and police determined the seller of the Mazda Protege was using the identification number of a car that had been totalled in a collision in another province earlier in the year.
"We believe that there are other victims who have purchased stolen vehicles advertised on Craigslist," said Det. Const. Phil Ens of the Vancouver Police Auto Crime Enforcement Team.
"They may not be aware that their car has been registered under an assumed identity."
Duck has been held in custody. He is expected to appear in court July 4.