Stolen cars in Ontario are listed on dealer websites in Nigeria
It’s no understatement to say that more people than usual have had their cars stolen in Toronto lately.
The Toronto Police Service’s own public data portal shows auto theft is up 61.4% this year in the city so far. Just four months into the year, more than 1,000 cars have already been pulled from the streets and, in some cases, rushed into shipping containers crossing the ocean.
A website called jiji.ng – the Nigerian version of Kijiji – offers hundreds of used cars for sale from Canada.
Some of these cars may have been legitimately exported to Africa for the purpose of being sold online.
Others, like this 2005 Toyota Camry, are on sale for a price comparable to what it would cost to ship a vehicle across the Atlantic Ocean.
This does not mean that any of the original Canadian cars on jiji.ng have been stolen. At least one recent listing was, however, according to said car’s owner per CTV News.
Car stolen from Ontario street tracked to Nigeria https://t.co/M1apgNLSM4
— Peter Lewicki (@peterlewicki) April 28, 2022
CTV reports that Ahmad Abdallah’s 2017 Toyota SUV disappeared from the street near his Toronto home in September 2021. More than six months later, the outlet found his exact vehicle — identifying marks and all — in sale in a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria.
Radio Canada Market similarly found last month in a report of his own that “stolen cars in Ontario and Quebec are openly advertised and sold in West African countries, including Nigeria and Ghana.”
Police say vehicles with push-button ignition systems are a clear target and organized crime groups have the ability to smuggle stolen vehicles into shipping containers and drive them to destination. Africa in a few hours.
So if you happen to be one of over 1,000 car theft victims this year so far, I suggest you keep an eye out for overseas resale sites. Some still wear their Ontario license plates.
“Freshly imported from Ontario, no impacts, no accidents. Runs perfectly fine,” reads a listing for a 2012 Hyundai Sonata. “Are you the one God wants to bless with this car? Chat me right now !! I sell good cars at great prices.”
“Newly arrived cla250 is like new,” reads another. “Seven months used in Canada.”