RCMP in Kelowna have taken down what it terms a 'significant' property theft and trafficking operation working out of a business in West Kelowna.
On August 2, police raided Cycle Logic on Julian Road in West Kelowna and subsequently the Peachland residence of company owner John Edward Newcome.
Kelowna RCMP Insp. Rick Flewelling, says the business also had ties to various criminal organizations such as the Nanaimo and Southland (Calgary) Chapters of the hells Angels as well as the Throttle Lockers and Kingpin Crew from Kelowna.
"I would dare say it was well put together," says Flewelling of the sophisticated nature of the operation.
"I haven't personally seen one bigger in nature. For me, the significant aspect would be not only the size, but the association with outlaw motorcycle gangs and organized crime.
He says members of the Nanaimo Hells Angels and Kingpin Crew were working with Newcome.
Flewelling says the operation involved modifying Vehicle Identification Numbers on stolen vehicles, boats, trailers, ATV's and machinery.
"They've gone out, had the product stolen, brought in, re-VINed it and then sold it. Or, it was stolen on demand."
In most cases, Flewelling says the products were then sold or distributed in other areas of BC or Alberta.
Some stolen property was discovered in Calgary and other areas.
Flewelling says investigation into Cycle Logic and Newcome began back in March of this year, culminating in the raid in August.
A large number of stolen items were located in both locations. A marijuana grow operation was also located at Newcome's Peachland residence.
The bust has also had a significant impact on crime within the community.
"With crime reduction as one of our primary goals, since we have taken down this organization, up until last Friday I don't think we've had an F150 stolen," says Flewelling.
Newcome has been charged with Possession of Stolen Property over $5,000 and Trafficking in Stolen Property over $5,000.
The second charge is significant since nobody has ever gone to court in the province on that specific charge since it became law nearly two years ago.
Flewelling says the penalties for Trafficking in Stolen Property should be stiffer than simple possession.