Investigation Takes Down Prolific Auto Theft Group

Posted On Tuesday March 21, 2023

Region of Peel – Investigators from the Peel Regional Police 11 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau have recovered 78 stolen vehicles worth over 10 million dollars and arrested numerous members of a prolific auto theft ring.

The more than three-month investigation named Project R&R involved numerous law enforcement agencies working in collaboration with border services officers and investigators from Canada Border Services Agency, as well as partners from the Port of Montreal and Équité Association. These partnering agencies were able to aid in the recovery of several of the stolen vehicles while many others were recovered within the Greater Toronto Area prior to being shipped overseas for resale.

“The results of Project R&R demonstrate that organized auto theft is a priority for Peel Regional Police. In addition to the nearly 2,400 stolen vehicles recovered in 2022, our officers have recovered over 500 vehicles in the first two months of this year.” said Chief Nishan Duraiappah. “Canada has become a source for organized auto crime. The dedication of our officers as seen here today, combined with increased collaboration, enhanced enforcement and greater awareness will continue to make an impact in combatting auto theft.”

Project R&R was initiated after a trend was identified related to the theft of vehicles, including Range Rovers, within the Region of Peel and the Greater Toronto Area.  It is alleged that the group targeted specific vehicles at various locations including Pearson International Airport. Methods of theft included targeted underground parking garages and residential neighbourhoods at night while victims slept.

Investigators identified members of the group actively stealing vehicles and then identified shipping and loading locations. The stolen vehicles were loaded and secured within containers and transported by truck or train to the Port of Montreal to be exported overseas. Over 25 containers were intercepted and held at various locations and ports including Brampton, Montreal, Germany, and Spain. Many stolen vehicles were destined for the United Arab Emirates. 

In late December 2022, members of the investigative team executed seven search warrants across the Region of Peel resulting in the following: 

  • Charged persons: 4  
  • Charges Laid: 34
  • Vehicles Recovered: 78 
  • Value of Motor Vehicles: $10 Million
  • Prohibited Magazine seized
  • A quantity of Canadian and US currency seized as proceeds of crime
  • A quantity of Cocaine seized
  • Stolen Ramp recovered (to load vehicles)

The following persons were arrested and charged with a combined total of 34 charges:

Altayeb Brafcany a 29-year-old of Mississauga ON, was charged with the following: 

  • Theft of Motor Vehicle x15
  • Possession of property obtained by crime x6 
  • Fraud Under $5,000 
  • Use debit card not authorized 

 Imad Assi a 29-year-old of Mississauga ON, was charged with the following:

  • Theft of Motor Vehicle 
  • Possession of property obtained by crime 
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking 

Ref'At Faris Mustafa Khatabeh a 44-year-old of North York, ON was charged with the following:  

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime x4

Michael Zureiqat a 48-year-old of Aurora ON, was charged with the following:

  • Possession of property obtained x4
  • Fail to comply with release order 

To learn more about vehicle theft prevention, please visit .  

This investigation is ongoing and further arrests are anticipated. Anyone who may have information pertaining to this matter is asked to call investigators at 11 Division Auto Unit at (905) 453–2121, ext.1133.  Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting

Like us on Facebook, subscribe to us on YouTube and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

For media inquiries, please contact the on-duty Media Relations Officer at (905) 453-2121 ext. 4027.

N/R: 23-076
Inc: PR220272082 


A Safer Community Together

Contact Us