'A small comfort': Brantford man arrested in connection with GO station wheel thefts

A Brantford man is facing charges after a Halton police investigation into GO Station thefts that left cars without their wheels sitting on cement blocks.

Charges include 13 counts of theft and 13 counts of mischief to property

Joe Robazza said he's been the victim of three thefts involving trucks parked at the Burlington GO station. The most recent incident left his 2017 Sierra SLE Elevation up on blocks. Halton police have made an arrest in their investigation of a handful of similar incidents. (Submitted by Joe Robazza)

A Brantford man has been arrested and faces dozens of charges after a string of GO Station parking lot thefts that left cars without their wheels.

CBC News reported last week on numerous incidents where rims and tires were stolen off cars parked at GO Stations along the Lakeshore West line.

In all the reported cases, the vehicle was left balancing on cement blocks.

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, members of the Halton regional police service criminal investigations bureau and tactical rescue unit executed a search warrant at a suspect's residence in Brantford. 

Investigators seized a 2004 GMC Yukon, which they say the suspect used during these thefts. 

Police have arrested a 29-year-old man, who now faces multiple charges.  

The charges include 13 counts of theft under $5,000, 13 counts of mischief to property, one count of theft of a motor vehicle, one count of possession of property obtained by crime, and 15 counts of breach of a probation order.

News of the arrest is "a small comfort," according to Joe Robazza, who said he suffered three separate thefts involving trucks parked at the Burlington GO station in recent months.

The first involved a 2003 GMC Sierra, which Robazza inherited from his dad and held sentimental value. It was stolen from the station on July 22, but later found a short way down the road, with some damage and a flat tire.

After four weeks of repairs, the truck was back on the road, but Robazza said it was stolen again after being parked at the station for just two days. This time it was gone for good.

Frustrated, Robazza ended up buying a new, 2017 Sierra SLE Elevation, but said when he arrived back at the station last Wednesday the wheels were gone, the passenger door was damaged and the window was shattered.

Police say the charges they laid cover incidents between Aug. 21 and Sept 11. 2019, meaning some of the charges might involve one of the incidents targeting Robazza's trucks.

A Reddit user posted this photo of a pickup left on blocks after its tires and rims were stolen at the Aldershot GO station. (phirleh/Reddit)

He called the arrest a "win" and said he was happy to hear law enforcement had some success.

He hasn't heard from Halton police since reporting his truck stolen, but said he's planning to check in with them again to see if there are any updates.

In the meantime Robazza said he's still working to get new wheels for his truck. He also plans to use his wife's car to get to the GO station from now on.

Victim says thieves should work for F1 teams

The truck owner did question whether a single arrest will actually stop the thefts, which Metrolinx previously said could be being carried about by rings of thieves.

"They operate in teams, they work really fast, they know what they're doing and I think they're ruthless," said spokesperson Anne Maire Aikins.

Robazza said he worries there might be other wheel thieves still out there.

"It's too bad we can't get these guys to work in a positive way," he joked.

"There must be some Formula One outfits out there that need people … that can change tires so quick."