BRITISH COLUMBIA

Kelowna Stolen Vehicle Chop Shop Busted By RCMP

09/04/2012 03:45 EDT | Updated 11/04/2012 05:12 EST
Flickr: dwhartwig
RCMP in Kelowna, B.C., say they have busted a local garage linked to the Hells Angels, where at least one man allegedly processed stolen high-end vehicles to fill orders from customers.

Police allege members of the Hells Angels and two other biker gangs worked at Cycle Logic in West Kelowna, where at least one man was changing the vehicle identification numbers on stolen trucks, motorcycles, boats and trailers — a process know by police as "re-VINing."

Insp. Rick Flewelling said the RCMP allege that the man, and perhaps others, targeted high-end vehicles that were pre-ordered by customers.

"Somebody's put an order in for it. They've gone out, They've stolen it, brought it in,'re-VINned' it and then sold it off," he said.

In other cases, the garage apparently processed vehicles that were reported stolen by the Hells Angels themselves, police said.

In one instance, police allege the president of the Kelowna Hells Angels chapter reported two vehicles as stolen, and the vehicles were later processed at the garage.

Police also recovered three stolen vehicles that were allegedly in the possession of the Calgary-based Southland Hells Angels chapter.

In total, police recovered about $750,000 worth of stolen vehicles and machinery as part of the investigation.

Police said they observed Hells Angels members from Kelowna, Nanaimo, and Calgary and members of Kelowna's Throttle Lockers and Kingpin Crew motorcycle clubs frequenting the garage, but no charges were laid linking any members those groups to the alleged crimes.

One man, who police have not linked to any motorcycle clubs, is facing a number of charges, including possession of stolen property and trafficking of stolen property, and more charges are possible, Flewelling said.

The bust of the Hells Angels-linked garage follows a raid at the Hells Angel Clubhouse last week that lead to charges against eight members and associates of the gang link to a drug smuggling operation.

Flewelling says this week's bust sends a message to organized crime groups.

"This kind of behavior is not welcomed in this area."