Attacking a network of Honda CR-V thieves

The Press was at the forefront of a vast police operation on Tuesday. Narrative.

“Green light,” launches detective lieutenant Isabelle Côté over the airwaves from the command room of the Laval Police Service (SPL), located in its headquarters.

On the back wall, a large map of the metropolitan area, on which dots appear, is projected onto a screen.


“Green light,” said detective lieutenant Isabelle Côté, under the watchful eye of the assistant director of criminal investigations, Jean-François Rousselle.

On the left, photos of the suspects and the targeted locations scroll on a TV screen.

The Tactical Intervention Groups (GTI) of the Montreal City Police Service (SPVM) and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), requested for assistance, are preparing to strike in Montreal North and Candiac.


The command center of the Laval Police Department at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. From behind, on the left, General Crimes Inspector Gabrielle Ferland.

Moment of silence. The executives and investigators in the room hold their breath. When GTI officials announce that their respective target has been arrested and that the premises are secure, concerns dissipate as applause bursts out.

An hour later, it will be the turn of a garage on Montée Masson, in Laval, to be visited by investigators.

The Press was able to accompany SPL General Crimes and Major Crimes investigators on Tuesday morning for this search.

Search 101

At 5:30 a.m., gathering and instructions given by Detective Sergeant Louis-Maxime Lefebvre in the parking lot of a church. At 6 a.m. sharp, the signal is given.


Surrounded by police officers and civilians who will take part in the search of a garage on Montée Masson, detective sergeant Louis-Maxime Lefebvre gives his final instructions.

A locksmith accompanies the police. It is he who cuts the padlock on the gate of the fenced industrial property with a grinder. Once this is done, however, the police wait before entering the property.


A few minutes after 6 a.m., the locksmith who accompanied the police began cutting the padlock on the property’s fence with the help of a grinder.

In fact, two dogs are supposed to stand guard.

Two employees of Berger Blanc, an animal adoption service, followed the investigators in their vehicle. They are ready to act, collared poles in hand.

Ultimately, they don’t need to intervene. The mastiffs are conspicuous by their absence.


An investigator from the Laval Police Department photographs the interior of a garage on Montée Masson which was the subject of a search on Tuesday morning.

It’s another dog, a police officer, who shows up on the scene: the female Maja, held by her master, Vincent Thibault.

Although money is said to have no smell, the “generalist” animal is trained to detect wads of dollars, drugs and weapons.


An investigator photographs a Honda brand silencer left on the garage floor.

In the garage, a few vehicle parts rest here and there. The bloodhounds are busy examining everything carefully. In a corner, a grizzled but efficient gray-haired investigator takes notes, always with a cigarette within reach.


SPL General Crimes and Major Crimes sleuths searched every nook and cranny of the garage with their flashlights.

Three arrests

Three men aged 41 to 55 were arrested, questioned and released pending further investigation. They could be charged with vehicle theft.

During the search, police seized tools, including a forklift, license plates, cash, a dozen cell phones and clothing.

A cube truck, in which police found nothing, and a Honda Civic were seized as criminal property, meaning they were allegedly used to commit the alleged offenses.


The locksmith helped the police unlock, move and open the rear door of this cube truck in which, however, investigators found nothing to support their evidence.

The dismantled network, which was well structured, according to the police, is however not the same type as those that have been talked about a lot since the COVID-19 pandemic, that is to say networks that use young people to steal vehicles which are, in most cases, intended for export.

Network members were particularly interested in Honda CR-Vs. They would be linked to 15 files of thefts committed not only in Laval, but also in the northern and southern suburbs, and even in Trois-Rivières.

The vehicles were stolen, “cooled” in a strategic location for a few days so that the suspects could ensure that they were not equipped with GPS, then moved to the garage on Montée Masson, where they would have been cut up, investigators believe.

A priority

Half of the stolen vehicles in the 15 files have been found. The Honda CR-V is one of the most stolen vehicles; 19 were stolen in Laval during the first quarter of this year.


One of the Honda CR-Vs found by police during the investigation

“Vehicle thefts decreased by 12% between 2022 and 2023 in Laval, but the number nevertheless remains high. This is a source of financing for organized crime. For the Laval Police Department, the fight against vehicle theft is a priority and over the last few months, we have put a lot of effort into it, started several investigation projects and made several arrests,” says the assistant. director of the SPL, Jean-François Rousselle.

The investigation began in the fall. More than 50 police officers from Laval, but also from the SPVM, the SQ and the police from Repentigny and Roussillon, took part in the strike on Tuesday morning.

To contact Daniel Renaud, call 514 285-7000, ext. 4918, write to [email protected] or write to the postal address of The Press.

Some prevention tips

Use a steering wheel lock

Store your electronic keys in a Faraday bag or box

Place an obstacle between your vehicle and the street

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