Edmonton police have laid additional charges in an extensive "chop shop" investigation which led to the recovery of more than $7 million in stolen vehicles.
The investigation began June 1, when police pulled over a 2012 Dodge Ram truck towing a flat-deck trailer near 121st Avenue and 76th Street.
Police learned the trailer was stolen and the truck had an unauthorized licence plate.
Officers searched Car Masters Collision Ltd. in northeast Edmonton and found a stolen 2013 Dodge Ram truck that was being dismantled. It had an estimated value of $80,000.
On June 7, after searching just a quarter of the property, police recovered more than $600,000 worth of vehicle parts and stolen property.
Since then, they've recovered parts of 159 vehicles, 141 of which were reported stolen.
"We believe this was a highly organized chop shop," Dwayne Karpo of the EPS Auto Theft Unit said in a news release. "Many of the recovered items were reported to various policing agencies."
Two people were charged with several offences, including possession of stolen property for the purposes of trafficking and alteration of vehicle identification numbers (VIN). A third person has since been charged in the investigation, police said in a news release on Wednesday.
A 53-year-old man, a 35-year-old woman and a 33-year-old woman are all facing a variety of charges, including possession of stolen property over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and participation in criminal organization.
The vehicles were reported stolen across Alberta, with 87 complaints filed to the Edmonton Police Service, 68 filed to the RCMP and six filed to the Calgary Police Service.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada assisted EPS in identifying the stolen vehicles, a majority of which were the Dodge make. The amount of stolen vehicles recovered, by make include:
- Dodge - 79
- Ford - 28
- GMC/Chevrolet - 13
- Other vehicles - 19
- One trailer
- One Bobcat
The most expensive vehicle recovered was a 2012 Dodge 3500, with an estimated value of $109,000., police said.
Edmonton police continue to investigate the chop shop.