Police in Vaughan, Ontario have arrested a group of sticky-fingered crooks linked to a ring of stolen cars, drugs, and… everyone's favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread, Nutella.
The York Regional Police recently conducted a massive sting, dubbed Operation Cyclone, in which they laid charges against 23 people, including one well-known criminal, 60-year-old Balwinder Dhaliwal, who has been called the "King of Car Thieves," The Star reports.
Among the $5 million in pilfered goods recovered by law enforcement were cars were 60 vehicles, worth over $3 million dollars; $200,000 worth of drugs, firearms, and loose cash; and an entire trailer load of Nutella, valued at $22,000.
"If there was a profit to be made by this group, this group would jump on the opportunity," Detective Sergeant Paul LaSalle of the York Regional Police, told The Star.
The investigation began in 2015 when the YRP noticed an uptick in the occurrences of car theft. These crimes also seemed to occur around the same time that a new body shop, Benefit Motors, opened in the area. In March of 2016, officers tracked two vehicles stolen from the same driveway, where they were idling to warm up, to a Benefit Motors, which was then believed to be a garage operated by the criminals.
Many of the stolen cars were luxury brands. The thieves would alter VIN numbers and forge paperwork to make them appear legal, and resell them.
"I've never seen an investigation that did spiral into so many directions," said LaSalle.
As for the Nutella, police estimate that the gang was selling it for about half its market value—so, actually, if you have a hookup, please hit me up.
We knew the world loved Nutella, but the thriving Canadian black market for the stuff might be news to us.