Brampton man's stolen truck recovered in shipping container thanks to built-in tracking device
A Brampton man who had his 2022 Dodge Ram pickup truck stolen from his driveway had it returned to him a week later after police located it in a shipping container near Milton thanks to a tracking device installed in the vehicle.
Randy Newton says his truck was stolen from his driveway at around 2 a.m. on April 11, about a month after he’d purchased the vehicle.
“I woke up in the morning and I heard a truck starting outside. The neighbour across the street has a similar Ram, but mine has something called a GT package so it's got a noisier exhaust and I thought to myself, ‘that sounds like my truck,’” Newton told CP24.com.
“I went to the front window and I'm standing there and you get this kind of disbelief and literally, I opened the door and walked outside to the driveway, and of course the truck ain’t there, it ain’t coming back, it’s gone. So then panic sets in and your stomach drops and you say, ‘what am I going to do?’”
Newton says that after reviewing security footage from one of his neighbours, he found out that the practiced thieves were able to steal his vehicle in about five minutes start to finish.
“It was textbook. They came to the front door with this antennae device looking for the key fob signal because it sends out an electronic signal regularly, but I did what was recommended, I got the faraday pouches for my key fobs and I kept them at the far end of the house away from the front door where these guys can't get the signal,” Newton said.
Earlier this year, Brampton mayor Patrick Brown pushed for a pilot project that would see thousands of free faraday bags – an inexpensive device that blocks the radio frequency from key fobs – handed out to residents in an attempt to protect them from rising levels of auto theft.
Peel police reported a 92 per cent rise in vehicle thefts in 2022 compared to 2019.
“A faraday bag is a $6 item that can protect a $60,000 car from being stolen in less than 60 seconds,” Brown said in a news release at the time.
But the thieves that stole Newton’s truck had a backup plan.
“So they proceeded to do the next thing which is they cut the horn wire, then they literally drilled a hole in the driver's window so they can access the little button there for your door unlock,” Newton said.
“So once they unlocked the door, they hooked up to the onboard diagnostics port under the steering wheel and they programmed a new key for themselves. And literally in less than four minutes, from the time that they entered the vehicle, they started it up and they were gone.”
Newton says he called Peel police right away and informed them of the theft, and that the truck was equipped with a tracking device.
The dealership that had sold him the truck offered the tracker for an extra charge of around $400, and at first he said he didn’t need it, but eventually decided to purchase it.
Newton says after police took a statement from him, he called the tracking company to see if they could pinpoint where his truck was.
“I called the tracking company, because [my truck] had the tracker in it, and they activated the service and they said to leave it with them,” Newton said.
“The tracking company called me back about four hours later and said they have eyes on my vehicle. They said it's in Caledon, and that's all they would tell me.”
Newton said the tracking company kept tabs on where his truck was for the next few days as it sat somewhere in Bolton.
“[They] knew where it was. It was in Bolton. I didn't know that at the time, but it was in Bolton in a transport company yard full of containers, trailers and stuff like that,” Newton said.
“But because they could not pinpoint which container it was potentially in, or even if it was in a container, police could not really do a thorough investigation or search.”
Then, about a week after his truck was stolen, he got a message from the tracking company saying that his vehicle had been recovered by police in Halton Region.
Newton says the company tracked the truck as it was moved from Bolton towards the Milton area, where it eventually stopped somewhere along Guelph Line.
“The police went in and opened the container and sure enough, there's my truck in there. And not only my truck, but there was also a brand new Toyota Highlander in there that had been reported stolen just two days earlier,” he said.
Newton said that aside from having to reprogram his fobs and replace his driver’s side window, the truck had minimal damage, likely because the thieves intended to resell the vehicle overseas.
Newton, who works as a millwright, says that even though he has his truck back, he’s paranoid that he may be the target of theft again since his truck is so valuable.
“I'm 66 so I'm getting ready for retirement and I've been saving to buy my dream truck for quite some time. And it's a lot of money, that truck was listed for $84,000, which is crazy – that's a lot of money to invest and then to have it gone in a month, it just was painful,” he said.
“Now that I've got it back, part of me says that I don't want to keep it because it's still targeted. I hear stories of other people, they get them back, they get them repaired and then they get stolen again.”
He says he’ll be implementing even more precautionary measures going forward, but added that purchasing the tracker was ultimately what got him his truck back.
“It was because of my tracker that they recovered [my truck and the Highlander], otherwise both those vehicles would be in the container on the way to who knows where,” Newton said.
With stories like Newton’s becoming increasingly more common, the Ontario government recently announced an investment of more than $50 million to combat auto theft by helping police identify and dismantle what it described as “organized crime networks.”
“With vehicle thefts and carjackings on the rise, our government is taking bold action against a serious and often violent crime where high-tech criminals operate in tightly organized networks,” Solicitor General Michael Kerzner said in a news release earlier this month.
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