8 people facing charges in GTA auto theft probe

Police say this Corvette was recovered as part of an auto theft investigation in June. (Ontario Provincial Police - image credit)

Eight people are facing over 100 charges total linked to a GTA auto theft investigation where 23 stolen vehicles were recovered, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say.

In a news release issued Tuesday, police said the investigation began in March of this year, after the province's carjacking task force — which is co-led by the OPP and Toronto police — identified a "criminal network" involved in auto thefts and home invasions.

Police say that last week, search warrants were carried out on six vehicles and four locations in Peel and Toronto. Investigators say officers found a loaded handgun and ammo, around $2,000, break-in and auto theft tools, fake photo ID and stolen vehicle parts.

Over the course of the investigation, officers recovered 23 vehicles with a value of over $5 million, police say.

A total of 103 charges have been laid against eight people, according to the news release. Four of those charged were taken into custody, while two were released on a promise to appear in court in Brampton on later dates.

Arrest warrants have also been issued for two people linked to the case, police say.

A separate news release issued by Toronto police Tuesday said, in total, the provincial task force arrested 124 people and laid 749 charges from September of last year to March of this year.

The task force was officially announced in October amid a marked rise in violent auto thefts and break-and-enters in the GTA.

Eight guns were seized, police say, while 177 vehicles were recovered, at an estimated value of over $10 million.