Reports of increased vehicle thefts across the country seemed to hit home this past weekend, when police recovered four stolen vehicles in Lennox and Addington (L&A) County, according to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
Three of the four vehicles were recovered on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, the L&A OPP detailed in a press release. On that date, shortly before 2 p.m., officers on patrol “received a hit” on their automatic licence plate reader for a stolen vehicle. At the time, that vehicle was parked at “a local business” on County Road 41 just north of Highway 401, the OPP said, and police “confirmed that the vehicle was stolen out of the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment area,” meaning the area of the Ottawa Valley patrolled by that particular OPP detachment.
According to police, that vehicle was reported stolen on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, and, at the time officers located the vehicle in L&A County, there was lone male sitting in the driver’s seat. That man was arrested, and the vehicle was returned to its owner, the OPP said.
As a result, 54-year-old Raymond French of Petawawa was charged with possession of property obtained by crime with a value over $5,000. French was held to attend a bail hearing, where he was released and scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Napanee in early March 2024.
Also on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, less than three hours after locating the stolen vehicle as outlined above, officers with the L&A OPP received a report of a motor vehicle fire on County Road 14 just east of County Road 41. Officers responded to the incident just before 5 p.m. and found that the fire department had arrived prior to police and put out the fire. The fire reportedly involved both a vehicle and an excavator, which police discovered had both been reported stolen out of Frontenac County. According to police, the driver of the vehicle had fled the scene prior to officers arriving.
“A witness to the incident advised that approximately 30 minutes prior to police arrival, they observed the large flatbed truck traveling at a crawling pace, eastbound on County Road 14. Approximately 100 feet behind the truck, a vehicle described as a white crew cab pickup truck, presumed to be a GMC, was following at the same pace as the flatbed,” the OPP reported.
While the vehicle was returned to its owner, police were not able to locate the suspect(s). The investigation into this case remains ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the person or people responsible for this vehicle theft and the subsequent fire, or the white pickup truck witnesses reported seeing following the truck and excavator, is asked to immediately contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Those with information who wish to remain anonymous may do so by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), where callers may be eligible to receive a cash reward up to $2,000.
The following day, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, the streak of stolen vehicle recovery continued when, shortly after 10 a.m., L&A OPP officers were dispatched to a reported abandoned Kubota rough terrain vehicle (RTV) in a field behind a house on Cutler Road in Stone Mills Township. When officers arrived on scene, they confirmed that the RTV was stolen, according to police.
“No one was seen in or around the area,” the OPP said, noting that the vehicle was returned to its owner.
“Police were not able to locate the suspect(s).”
The investigation into that case remains ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the person or people responsible is asked to contact the OPP immediately at 1-888-310-1122. Those with information who prefer to remain anonymous may do so by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), where callers may be eligible to receive a cash reward up to $2,000.