The Associated Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Canada (AP) -- A six-year investigation
involving stolen computers, jewelry and clothing shipped out of
Toronto's Pearson International Airport has culminated in what police
are calling the largest proceeds-of-crime bust in Ontario history.
Total value of the merchandise seized in the bust over the past three
years is $3.5 million, Peel Regional Police said Wednesday at one of
their detachments in this city west of Toronto.
Calling the scope of the investigation "massive," Det. Steve Rowland,
who investigated the initial airport thefts, outlined a criminal
venture that started out small, then ballooned.
"It started out as someone just taking the opportunity at theft, and
then just rose to pure greed," he said.
"These people had been getting away with it for such a long time that
they were comfortable."
Comfortable until police began investigating cargo thefts at Pearson
in 1997. That probe led to a joint effort involving numerous southern
Ontario police services.
Police said the crime ring was orchestrated by "internal employees"
at the airport, but didn't provide many other details.
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Police displayed mountains of computers, video cameras and other
high-end merchandise, as well as stacks of money, that have been
seized since 2001.