Kevin Donovan woke up at 4:30 a.m. last Friday to find that his 2009 Toyota Highlander and eight year old black Labrador Pippin were gone.
I looked at my exterior door and saw that it was beaten up, the panel was bent open and the hinge fell off,” Donovan said.
“We usually have about eight of those a year,” he said.
The couple has nothing of value to sell and have no-return insurance that covers only theft. It typically does not pay to insure high-value items such as a car, Donovan said.
Still, Donovan didn’t think it was that surprising that someone would take his car.
“We have a modded old rig, so we’ve had cars stolen quite a few times over the years,” he said.
“We set up eight or nine cameras all around the house and area.”
These included a dashcam, digital cameras, voice recorders and GPS trackers in the SUV.
The house security company, the same one that had first encountered Donovan and told him that his own house and vehicle were vulnerable to looters, alerted him on Wednesday morning that his home’s cameras were recording a car entering his driveway.
By noon, an alert had been received from the Ontario Provincial Police.
“I was basically in shock,” Donovan said.
“I found a white Scion SI and my father’s white Toyota SUV on the property,” he said.
The court system
Six days after the discovery of his car, as part of a Canadian search warrant, U.S. Marshals arrested the alleged thieves who stole his car in Toronto. The suspects face charges of theft over $5,000, uttering a forged document and conspiracy.
Oddly, the car’s GPS has been working since the date Donovan reported its theft. But Donovan’s protection against theft by fraud was not enough to stop the thief.
“I don’t know how he took that car, but he had to find a way to get it out of here,” Donovan said.
It’s not clear whether the suspects knew Donovan’s vehicle was found near Halifax.
In fact, it appears the alleged thieves spent the first two weeks of the case changing their names and putting together an alibi. According to court documents, at least two of the accused stole cars on different dates in March.
“It sounds like an elaborate ruse to make it look like they left with another vehicle or that they fled to another part of the country,” Donovan said.
By the time the police found the accused, none of the evidence was in the destroyed car.
“They just kept going around with their hands in their pockets,” Donovan said.
Now, back in the company of his family, Donovan can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the thieves hadn’t been caught so quickly.
“The life of the guys involved is not going to be easy,” he said.
“I’m not just a dumb-ass guy,” he said. “I am the guys’ biggest fan.”
However, he said, “I would say that this is not an example of bad policing. I think the role of the police is to respond to an incident as soon as possible, regardless of the explanation.”