Auto theft in Canada CBC Radio Transcripts Mon 13 Jan 2003 Byline: Source: Time: 18:00:00 ET Network: CBC-R Length: 757 words
BARBARA SMITH: And we turn now to CBC Radio's series on auto theft in Canada. Tonight, a look inside one organized crime ring. They made millions of dollars reselling and exporting stolen vehicles from southern Ontario. The kingpin in the criminal scheme is now behind bars. Mal Winder or Bill Dhaliwal is serving a ten year sentence at Joyceville Prison near Kingston. At the time of his arrest three years ago, police accused him of running one of the largest auto theft rings Canada had ever seen. Dave Seglins has the story.
DAVE SEGLINS (Reporter): Cars still wheel in and out of this body shop and used car lot next to Toronto's Pearson Airport. Bill Dhaliwal says that during the late 1990s, this was his business. It worked as a front. He made his real money in selling stolen luxury cars.
BILL DHALIWAL: For instance, if you wanted a mercedes, and you wanted green, and you want grey interior and I'd say okay, give me five thousand dollars deposit and the vehicle will be ready in two weeks.
SEGLINS: Dhaliwal says he'd fill his orders with help from a network of 200 people in the Toronto area. From buyers, to thieves, to mechanics who specialized in disguising stolen vehicles.
DHALIWAL: You know, everybody deals with everybody. Their money is as good as the next person. Like we had Russians, Czechoslovakians, people from Hungary, Germany.
SEGLINS: The work of stealing began with finding targets. He says he'd pay several hundred dollars in bribes to leasing agents and dealers. He was after car information and the home addresses of owners. He says he'd also bribe or defraud Ministry of Transportation Employees to get phony ownership papers. Then to get around car security systems, Dhaliwal says he would pose as a car owner who'd lost his keys and he'd get car dealers to cut him a new set.
DHALIWAL: I walked into Honda dealership where I don't know the guy. I just walk in with an ownership and say I lost the key, here's my ownership. And they'd just put in on the computer, phone Honda. Within five minutes, Honda gives him a key code. They punch it out. I pay him. I take the key. Thank you and gone. From there I go home. I just give the key to the thief and give him the address. Tell him pick this car up for me.
SEGLINS: The thief would be paid about a thousand dollars a car. Then, Dhaliwal says, he'd pay mechanics a few thousand to strip the vehicle's serial numbers. They'd give the cars a new identification, right down to forged computerized strips and bar codes.
DHALIWAL: You'd duplicate the numbers. You make all the stickers new and all the steel ones. The frame, you fill them and repunch new numbers on.
SEGLINS: Police say Dhaliwal's work was so good it was almost impossible to detect. Steve Boyd of the Ontario Provincial Police says Dhaliwal was able to resell hundreds of cars in Ontario, the US and, like other theft rings, even overseas by a huge shipping containers called cans.
STEVE BOYD (Ontario Provincial Police): Some groups will stockpile a warehouse full of cars and then, you know, Tuesday night at three in the morning, they'll have ten cans delivered and all twenty cars will go in the cans like boom, boom, boom.
SEGLINS: Dhaliwal says he sold most of his stolen cars in the Toronto area. He insists most buyers knew what they were getting. Others didn't, but were drawn in by the deals.
DHALIWAL: There's a lot of clean, honest people that just, without them we can't do it. There has to be a demand. There's people that don't want to do the dirty work but they'll still pay to get the cars cheaper.
SEGLINS: Dhaliwal says he sold about twenty stolen cars a month over several years. With profits averaging forty thousand dollars a car, police figure he pocketed several million. But Dhaliwal lived a high life. He got greedy and bragged to an undercover police officer. He's now in prison serving a ten year sentence. He insists he's given up on criminal life, but Dhaliwal says the very people he used to work with are still in the business. His thieves are still out there, and he says he knows of dozens of other rings just like his that make off with thousands of luxury cars each year in the Toronto area. Dave Seglins, CBC News, at the Joyceville Prison near Kingston, Ontario.