A man has been arrested for stealing cars and reselling them on Craigslist with assumed vehicle identification numbers.

In April, the victim of a car theft recognized his Toyota 4Runner that had been stolen a week prior. Police were notified and an investigation was launched into the theft and recovery of the stolen truck. As a result, police determined the truck had been registered with a false vehicle identification number (VIN) which had been obtained from a scrapped 4Runner of the same age.

In early June, investigators were alerted to a second stolen truck that had been advertised and sold on Craigslist. Again, police determined that this Toyota Tacoma had taken on the identity of a scrapped truck that was destroyed by a fire.

One week later, police found a third stolen car being advertised for sale on Craigslist under similar suspicious circumstances. Police determined that the seller of the Mazda Protege used the identity of a car that had been totalled in a collision in another province earlier in the year.

As a result of their investigation, police determined that a crook had allegedly been purchasing scrap cars with valid VINs, removing the cars’ number plates and disposing of the worthless vehicles. The crook would then steal a similar car, exchange the car’s VIN and sell the cars on Craigslist to unsuspecting buyers.

On June 17th, Jonathan Allan Duck, a 34 year old Vancouver man, was arrested for:

  • three counts of fraud over $5,000
  • one count of fraud under $5,000
  • two counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000

Duck has been held in custody pending his next scheduled court appearance on July 4th, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.

“We believe that there are other victims who have purchased stolen vehicles advertised on Craigslist,” says Detective Constable Phil Ens of the Vancouver Police Auto Crime Enforcement Team (ACE). “They may not be aware that their car has been registered under an assumed identity.”


  • altered vehicle identification number (VIN) on dashboard
  • altered Canadian Safety Standard Decal on driver’s side door post
  • VIN on dashboard and Canadian Safety Standard Decal don’t match

Potential buyers who suspect that a vehicle’s VIN has been tampered with can have the car’s true VIN located at an authorized dealership.