Halton Police dismantles organized retail theft ring
December 18, 2022 By Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Dec. 18, 2022, Milton, Ont. – The Halton Regional Police Service has said it recovered an estimated $2 million dollars in stolen goods and currency after a lengthy investigation dubbed Project Kingfisher.
The three-month long investigation also resulted in the arrest of 11 people and the laying of dozens of criminal charges. Project Kingfisher took aim at an organized retail theft ring operating in Halton and the surrounding regions.
A variety of retailers were targeted by this group operating under the name “Buynsel”. Items stolen from stores were then sold via an online platform. Stolen items include electronics, power tools and beauty/personal care items.
On Tuesday December 6, 2022, investigators executed warrants at more than a dozen locations in the City of Brampton, including a warehouse, five residences, and multiple storage lockers.
Investigators seized stolen goods estimated by police to be worth in excess of $1.5 million dollars. Investigators also seized more than $600,000 in cash.
Brampton residents Satnampal Chawla, 34, Renata Szarkeziova, 36, Jesika Abkarovicova, 24, Zakelina Balazova, 30, Sandra Balazova, 26, Leonardo Rafael, 24, Martin Fatak, 44, Roman Stojka, 46, Rene Stojka, 32, Sabel Lakatasova, 23, and Toronto resident Shabani Luthrta, 32, have all been charged with different criminal offenses.
Police are still seeking an additional suspect.
“Retail theft is not a victimless crime. These thefts cost Canadian retailers billions of dollars a year, costs that are passed on to consumers when they go shopping. It’s also a near certainty that people purchasing these items online had no idea they were buying stolen goods,” said HRPS Superintendent Bob Gourley.
Project Kingfisher was conducted by the HRPS Frontline Support Office and the Retail Theft Units and was a joint project with the Peel Regional Police. Halton Police also thanked the Waterloo Regional Police Service and Brantford Police for their assistance in the project.
– The Milton Reporter
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