The palace of justice of Quebec
January 21, 2020 20: 27
The well-oiled machine of the thieves, truck-trailers
You see an industrial park, with factory and trailers wisely aligned? The thief Claude Robert, him, behold the cave of Ali Baba.
The operation Force led by the major crime section of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) has struck the imagination by march 2017 : 18 people have been arrested for having stolen a few months not less than $ 5.6 million in shipments of semi-trailer trucks and luxury vehicles.
Since that time, we knew very little about the functioning of this network is highly structured.
The defendants have for the most pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property and was sentenced to between 9 and 72 months in prison. Each time, the court was entitled only to the brief summary of facts accompanying the plea of guilt.
The one that the police considers as the mastermind, Steve Fortin, 59, of Saint-Liboire in the Montérégie region, has chosen him to stand trial.
The Crown has therefore started to unpack all his evidence with, as a witness-star, the former accomplice Claude Robert, 45, of Saint-Benoît-Labre in Beauce, who is serving a sentence of 54 months after pleading guilty in 2018. Robert has made a complete confession to the police officers who came to see him, at his request, in prison. He is now incarcerated in a sector of protection.
In his former life, Claude Robert was agent of prevention on construction sites. But for the past ten years, he lives on theft, fraud and drug trafficking.
His most recent release from prison in 2016, Steve Fortin was the work for him, tells Robert.
Fortin him would have suggested that the theft of trailers full of various goods. Thanks to its multiple contacts, Steve Fortin would then, according to Robert, to resell the shipments to various buyers.
Claude Robert agrees : the Beauceron wants to make money and get rid of an old debt of $ 30,000 that he owed to Fortin.
Sûreté du Québec
A child’s play
Claude Robert and his accomplices are going to repeat the same ride about a dozen times during the following months. To hear it, it seems a child game…
First, it is necessary to skim the industrial parks and factory in search of a trailer at the paid content. New Brunswick is a playground of choice, evidenced by Claude Robert; the courses are rarely closed. The network will fly also in the Beauce region), Levis, Sorel, on the South Shore of Montreal and in Ontario.
In general, the rear door of the trailer is not locked, notes Robert. It is thus easy to examine the cargo. Otherwise, the tools of burglary are never far away.
Then, it is necessary to find (steal) a tractor truck to pull the trailer, ” says Claude Robert. Except, the thief has always quickly found a truck parked that he could start it without problem.
Simply go back to attach the trailer to the truck and back to the destination where the trailer and its contents will be hidden. Claude Robert is often went to carry the cargo at a farmer’s accomplice, Saint-Eustache, and a few times in Meat Francoeur, a wholesaler of Sainte-Julie, who has also been accused of receiving stolen property.
In the narrative of Claude Robert, the dates are a bit fuzzy. But he knows that he has stolen the cheese factory of Agropur to Beauceville before the aluminum cylinders and the theft of chickens was committed after the theft of the grapes.
A flight memorable for Robert, remains of the cargo of the tails of lobsters at Grande-Anse, New Brunswick, in full July 1st. Claude Robert reminds us of fireworks bursting in the sky while he was travelling with his refrigerated trucks filled with loot worth close to a million dollars.
He and his accomplices had made the tour of the processing plants of seafood and waited all one night that the trailer is targeted to be filled.
Not always easy
The life of a thief of trailers was not always of any rest, evidenced by Claude Robert, referring to the hundreds of eggs that are broken during a voyage and the cargo of pig carcasses stuck in the mud.
Some loads were more difficult to pass than others, remembers Claude Robert. Steve Fortin has put at least a month, said Robert, to sell the cargo of layers back — again — in New Brunswick.
After each flight, Robert is said to have received at the hands of Steve Fortin a wad of cash. His salary varied between 5000 and 15 000 $, that he often divided with associates.
The investigation of the SQ began in July 2016. It accelerated in December when nine main actors have been able to be put under electronic surveillance. Several police forces (RCMP, POLICE service, Ontario provincial police, in particular) contributed to the survey.
The arrests took place in march 2017. The police was able to recover goods up to the value of $3.6 million.
The trial of Steve Fortin should last for eight weeks.
STEAL MORE EASILY WITH A TOW TRUCK
When we do not master the “art” of stealing luxury vehicles, instead, why not tow?
Lexus SUV, Jeep Cherokee and Wrangler, truck, Ford, and GM, among others; Steve Fortin, the alleged head of the network dismantled by the draft Force, was also interested in these vehicles, according to his former accomplice Claude Robert. Each flight of luxury car could bring between $ 4,000 and $ 5,000 to the author.
A Novice in a stolen car, Robert had an idea that he considered less risky. “I told Steve that this would be more simple to steal a towing and embark on the towing,“says-t it.
Claude Robert steals the tow truck on November 15, 2016 to Saint-Apollinaire. He explains the then have brought to Saint-Georges to let it “rest” for a few days, the time to see if the vehicle was equipped with a GPS to locate it. Claude Robert is said to have handed over the registration papers and the serial numbers for the tow truck to Steve Fortin so that it can do the “cloning”, or give a number that will “legalize” the device. According to police, Fortin and his accomplices maquillaient and gave an identity cloned their vehicles stolen before the register and re-sell them.
The tow truck, however, was seized by police before it could be used to transport stolen vehicles. During the strike, the police have recovered for 573 $ 700 in luxury vehicles. They found a dozen cars in a warehouse in Sorel and Sherbrooke.