The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the Ford F-Series truck tops its annual list of the most frequently stolen vehicles. (Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker)

Car thefts on rise in Canada as thieves target trucks, SUVs: insurance board

TORONTO — A new report says choosy car thieves are setting their sights on Ford trucks and high-end SUVs as the number of automotive thefts continues to rise across the country.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says in its annual list of the most frequently stolen vehicles that the Ford F-Series trucks are again topping the list.

Henry Tso, the board’s vice-president of investigative services, says thieves in Ontario and Alberta are going after trucks, while in Atlantic Canada the Nissan Maxima is stolen most often along with the Chevy Silverado and Jeep Liberty.

New Brunswick saw the sharpest rise in thefts with a 28 per cent jump, with Ontario seeing a 15 per cent increase.

Nationally, police reported close to 85,000 thefts in 2017 — a six per cent increase over 2016.

The board says New Year’s Day is the most common time for vehicles to be stolen since they are often loaded with gifts.

But, it says vehicles are often smuggled outside the country, sold to unsuspecting consumers, scrapped for parts or used to commit another crime with organized crime rings usually involved.

The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada says crime groups involved in auto thefts operate primarily out of Montreal and Toronto.

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