NEWS
12/14/2011 10:43 EST | Updated 02/13/2012 05:12 EST

2009 Toyota Venza hottest car in Canada among thieves, insurance bureau says

TORONTO - Bad news for Toyota Venza owners — the 2009 edition of the crossover SUV is the new hot target for Canadian car thieves.

The Toyota model tops the Insurance Bureau of Canada's top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in Canada.

The 2009 Venza replaces the 2000 Honda Civic SiR, which was last year's No. 1 stolen vehicle and drops to third place this year.

In at second this year among car thieves is the 1999 Honda Civic SiR two-door.

Rounding out the top five are the 2006 Ford F350 Pickup Truck 4WD in fourth place and the 2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT four-door AWD in fifth.

The insurance bureau says high-end vehicles are often targeted by criminal organizations that strip them for parts or resell them to unsuspecting consumers.

"Consumers need to be aware when they're in the market for used vehicles or parts," said Rick Dubin of the insurance bureau.

"Generally, Quebec stolen vehicles — like the Venza — are ending up in the Port of Montreal, as thieves appear to be seeking a quick distribution of the vehicles," Dubin said.

While auto theft is a big business, Dubin said the numbers are dropping.

"The good news is that statistics show that in 2010, the number of stolen vehicles in Canada — approximately 93,000 — was down 15 per cent from 2009," Dubin said.

"The bad news is that recovery rates for stolen vehicles are continuing to decline," he added.