WEST KELOWNA, B.C. — The Solicitor General's Ministry says a man behind a large stolen vehicle and parts operation in West Kelowna, B.C., will hand over motorcycles, vehicle parts and equipment to the province's Civil Forfeiture Office.
The ministry says John Newcome has signed a court-approved settlement forfeiting more than two dozen complete or partial motorcycles, including sport bikes, choppers and custom Harley-Davidsons.
A news release says Newcome also forfeited garage and trades tools, and some items are already listed for auction, while others will be posted soon.
The items were seized in August 2012 after police raids at Newcome's former West Kelowna business and at his Peachland home that revealed stolen vehicles, ATVs and pontoon boats, as well as evidence of tampering with vehicle identification numbers.
According to the ministry, case files noted Newcome's business was connected to Hells Angels chapters in Nanaimo and Calgary, and to two local motorcycle gangs, the Throttle Lockers and Kingpin Crew.
Newcome pleaded guilty in February 2014 to 19 counts, including 14 charges related to stolen property, and received an 18-month conditional sentence.
"Sophisticated, large-scale, organized theft rings don't just cost their victims time and money. Often, they provide capital to organizations that are also behind a lot of the drug crime and related violence in our communities," says Solicitor General, Mike Morris.
"Civil forfeiture adds value by helping to break up these kinds of operations and stem the flow of cash to these organizations," he says.
Many of the stolen vehicles linked to the raids were returned to their rightful owners, the ministry says and where ownership of the vehicles and parts could not be confirmed, new vehicle identification numbers were provided by the Insurance Corp. of B.C.
Those vehicles are expected to be offered for sale in the coming weeks, the release says.